Starting at the beginning of May as part of a reorganization Renault Sport Cars became Alpine Cars, whose site is based in Les Ulis. The marketing driven name change, with the messy Renault Nissan divorce in the background, creates a business unit for the development of Renault Group sports models. Alpine aims to be a premium sports brand at the forefront of innovation and technology. By becoming Alpine Cars, the teams are embarking projects carried out with the support of the Alpine Racing teams and all of Renault Group’s businesses. (Groupe Renault Posts 2020 Loss of -€8.5 Billion, Groupe Renault Posts Flat Results for Q1 2021)
The challenges of that lofty goal were on full display yesterday during the Formula One race in Spain. The Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon scored two points at the Spanish Grand Prix after finishing in ninth place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with home favorite Fernando Alonso outside the points in seventeenth or in his case Formula None. Mercedes-Benz and Honda dominated the race. The team remains fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.
On a problematic afternoon in Barcelona, the team planned for a one-stop pit strategy with both cars, which ultimately proved a failed strategy towards the latter stages of the race. Esteban managed to hold on to ninth place at the checkered flag with Fernando pitting close to the end as a result of high degradation on his Medium tires on his second stint.
Worse, at a track where qualifying position is as vital as it is at the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix, Esteban made a clean start from fifth position, but lost two places on the opening lap. Fernando, from tenth, was locked in a wheel-to-wheel battle but held onto his place.
Laurent Rossi, CEO Alpine said, this name change symbolizes the new momentum in which the Les Ulis site is already engaged with the development of the future 100% electric Alpine range and technical discussions with the Alpine Racing teams. (Alpine and Lotus to Study Joint Development of an Electric Sports Car as Groupe Renault Restructures)
Well Alpine’s past – the R5 Turbo, the Clio V6, the Mégane R.S. Trophy and the new Alpine A110 – is no guarantee that it’s future is assured as a premium sports brand, but at least the brand is mixing it up with current automotive titans.