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Renault CEO rules out Alpine F1 team sale despite "offers left and right"

French manufacturer Renault has made it clear that its Alpine Formula 1 team will not be sold, despite receiving “offers left and right”.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A524, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524, out of the pit lane

The Enstone-based squad has endured a challenging start to the 2024 season, with its A524 F1 car starting the season at the back of the grid and has scored just two points so far.

Its struggles have prompted speculation that parent company Renault could look to offload it.

One potential buyer could be the Andretti organisation, which has been advised by the FIA to purchase a team to secure a spot on the grid, while there have been recent rumours that the Chinese Geely company was eyeing an involvement.

But Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo is emphatic that, despite Alpine’s current difficulties, he is not interested in selling either the entire squad or a part of it to interested parties.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Autocar magazine, de Meo said: “I want to make this very clear. There is no way we are going to give up.

“It’s not my style. We will not sell even a part of this thing. We don’t need the money. I’ve had people making offers left and right, then talking in the press about it. But we’re not interested. It would be stupid, and I won’t do it.”

De Meo does not shy away from the fact that Alpine’s current performance level in F1 is not good enough, as he blamed a combination of mistakes with the engine and chassis for its current plight.

“When we began the hybrid era [in 2014], our engine didn’t perform,” he said. “We had been world champions with Red Bull but with hybrid, things went wrong.

“Even the engine we developed in 2021 had a 0.2s to 0.5s disadvantage every lap. And this year we’ve screwed up with the car. If you combine everything, we’re up to 1.5s from where we need to be.”

But he said the team would do everything it could to move forward, as he explained that there were three key elements that were required.

“The first is a quality team of top-notch people,” he said. “The second is racing rage, an obsession to win. The third is collaboration and trust throughout the team, a spirit of cooperation that makes things seem easier.

“Alpine should be one of the teams in F1 with the broadest shoulders, because it has the backing of the Renault Group.

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“I don’t think we deserve to be a top team at present, but we’re not in F1 to be tourists so we need to work hard.

“Sure, we’ve made mistakes. It happens. But I think we’re right to put F1 at the core of Alpine, and to paint the car blue to represent a distinctive automotive culture.

“This brand is totally legitimate because it was always in competition. But it can do much better, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity.”

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