F1 legend Prost sounds off Alpine, labels CEO ‘incompetent’

Alain Prost has launched an scathing attack on Alpine’s faltering Formula One team, labelling recently departed CEO Laurent Rossi “incompetent” and an example of the corporate influence which has taken hold of the team.

On Friday, Alpine confirmed the departure of team boss Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, a week after it was confirmed Rossi had been replaced as CEO by Phillipe Krief and moved to work on special projects for the wider Renault group.

Four-time world champion Prost was named executive director of Renault when it returned to F1 in 2015 and stayed through the rebrand to Alpine in 2021, before leaving the role last year.

“I love this team, and I am saddened and distressed to see it in its current state,” Prost wrote in a column for L’Equipe.

“It deserves better and has everything it needs to succeed. I simply believe you need to rely on history to understand what went wrong.

“If you look at the great success stories from the last 30 years, you will see a simple structure — unlike an industrial organisation chart — built around three or four strong personalities, coupled with a winning driver.”

Prost reversed his harshest criticism for Rossi, saying his fellow countryman was a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which he explained as “that of an incapable leader who thinks he can overcome his incompetence by his arrogance and his lack of humanity towards his troops”.

Prost claimed Rossi’s leadership undid a lot of the positive feeling which existed at the time of the rebrand, especially Esteban Ocon’s shock win at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

He added: “The man who was the boss of Alpine for eighteen months thought he had understood everything from the start when he was totally misguided. His management broke the momentum that had been in place since 2016 to achieve these podiums and this victory.”

Under Rossi’s oversight Alpine not only lost two-time world champion Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin, but also saw former junior driver Oscar Piastri — considered one of the most exciting talents in racing — leave for McLaren.

The loss of Piastri was an embarrassment for the team and looks even worse with every one of the Australian’s recent performances, as he continues to impress in his rookie season for McLaren’s resurgent F1 team.

Prost hinted at a toxic culture within the team, which he suggested led to his departure from the team last year.

“It became too complicated,” he wrote. “I was no longer involved in the decisions, sometimes I did not share them, not even at all, but I had to continue to convey the official word.

“Even as a member of the board of directors, I discovered certain decisions at the last minute… I felt that there was a lot of jealousy.”

Alpine’s F1 team is under interim guidance of Bruno Famin, who just three weeks ago was made VP of Alpine Motorsport to work under Rossi’s leadership.

There are rumours Alpine will look to replace Szafnauer with former Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto but the team has refused to comment on future plans.

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