Hands up who was expecting this? Renault’s Formula One team will take the name of Alpine from the 2021 season, putting one of rallying’s most legendary marques at the top table of circuit racing for the first time.
It’s welcome news, too. Rumours had circulated that Alpine – which currently manufactures the A110 and A110 S in Dieppe – could face an uncertain future as Renault juggled its finances post-lockdown. While unlikely given how young the A110 sports car still is, Alpine’s appearance on next year’s F1 grid presents a very welcome quashing of those murmurs.
“This is a key step to accelerate the development and influence of the brand,” says the bumf. “The team’s engine will continue to benefit from Groupe Renault’s unique expertise in hybrid powertrains and its E-Tech name will be retained.”
Gone is the yellow and black of Renault, replaced by the patriotic blue, white and red of Alpine. The team’s drivers in 2021 will be Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.
“Alpine brings a new meaning, new values and colours to the paddock with the spirit of competition from other worlds and French creative agility,” says team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
“These will be assets in the preparation of 2022 deadlines. The implementation of the ‘budget cap’ will put an end to the expense race and will allow the signatory teams to be measured for their sporting value. Alpine has its place in Formula 1 and can challenge for victory.”
Reckon they can win?