Abiteboul: Alpine was 'sure to get it wrong' with 100-race plan

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Former Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul says he never understood Alpine's notorious 100-race plan which he has always seen as an ill-advised intention from the start as events of late are demonstrating.

Alpine's recent struggles came to a head at Spa last Friday when the French outfit announced the departure of team principal Otmar Szafauer, sporting director Alan Permane and chief technology officer Pat Fry.

The ripple effects of these changes have left the team facing numerous challenges and questions about its future direction, with no reassuring answers.

Abiteboul, who now exercises his management expertise and racing experience in the World Rally Championship as Hyundai's team boss, didn't hold back his criticism of his former team amid its latest rounds of management changes and dismissals.

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"This situation reflects dissatisfaction with the results and most likely impatience on the part of the Renault group's management board," observes Abiteboul in an interview with France Info.

"Beyond impatience, there may have also been some arrogance at the beginning of the season or an excess of confidence.

"When you don't face reality, at some point you start telling yourself stories," he added.

"You can't rule out that the story they were telling themselves internally was too flattering, but Alpine isn't that far off.

"The variations in competitiveness have affected everyone this season, with the exception of Red Bull. Alpine, on the other hand, are always a notch too low. Sometimes it's their fault, sometimes it's not.

"The car's competitiveness at the start of the season was below par, and they haven't had the kind of miraculous upgrade that other teams have had."

Abiteboul explained why the 100-race plan proclaimed by former Alpine boss Laurent Rossi at the end of 2021 was ill-advised from the outset.

"The plan to quantify 100 grands prix... why not 120, why not 80? I don't understand it," the Frenchman said.

"When you start putting forward a plan like that, you're sure to get it wrong because you don't know what others are doing in Formula 1.

"Aston Martin's colossal investments, Red Bull's incredible momentum, none of that is going to stop just because Laurent Rossi's 99th grand prix comes along."

Finally, Abiteboul casts a very critical view on Alpine's decision to part ways with Szafnauer and Permane, a move that has effectively left the team without any senior F1 experience to guide it, a situation not unlike the one encountered by Abiteboul in 2021.

"The previous management made a point of having a complete reset after I left, which involved dismissing around fifteen people," he explained.

"We underestimate this all the time in F1, as in other highly competitive sectors: it takes time to get someone from the competition.

"When you lose 15 people and you hire, it takes two or three years before it takes effect. The reshuffle that Laurent Rossi decided to make, we haven't even really seen its impact."

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