Alpine F1 reshuffle talk mustn’t distract team, says Budkowski

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski thinks it essential his team doesn’t let speculation about potential management changes distract it from the golden opportunity it has with Formula 1’s new rules.

The Enstone-based squad achieved its target of fifth place in the constructors’ championship this year with a double points scoring finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

But it comes ahead of a winter where CEO Laurent Rossi has hinted at needing to make some changes to its structure in a bid to help move the team forward over the long term.

There has been speculation linking Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer to a role as Alpine, plus there have even been rumours that Budkowski himself could move in the other direction to replace him.

Alpine has so far kept tight lipped about what it will change ahead of the 2022 campaign, but Budkowski is clear that the squad must not let any thoughts about changes distract the team’s efforts for F1’s new rules era.

With teams working on all-new car designs, and for the first time under a budget cap, Budkowski think Alpine has a great chance to do something special for next year.

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director, Alpine F1, in the team principals Press Conference

Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director, Alpine F1, in the team principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Asked about potential management changes, including his own position, Budkowski said: “There is a lot going on for next year and it is probably the most important winter for this team since Renault came back.

“It is the first car we are designing under the cost cap – we are not at the cap, we are below – so it is actually not impacting us but it is impacting our competitors. In relative terms it gives us a better platform and a better position.

“And a reset of some areas of the team that are working a lot better, and I am excited to see what they are going to do. So I think at this stage this should be the focus in the team.

“As part of the top management in the team, my role is to protect the team from rumours. Really what I want people to talk about at the coffee machine is how to make the car go quicker, not who is doing what or what the management structure would look like.”

Talk about a management shake-up began last month when Rossi said that the team needed to add ‘muscles’ as it bids to step up for another year of finishing fifth in the standings.

“It's not in line with what we want," he said. "I clearly want the team to contend for podiums and win by the end of the next regulation, that is to say 2024/25, depending on where they decide to switch to the new regulation package.

"But to do so, we'll need to evolve the team a little bit. I think the team has moved from P9 to P5, before the plateau we've reached, pretty well in the past years.

"But now, to move to the next stage and become the best of the top teams rather than just the best of the rest, it's another evolution that is needed.”

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