F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Alpine F1 confirms key exits and new technical structure

Alpine F1 has confirmed the departures of technical director Matt Harman and its head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer as well as the formation up of an entirely new technical structure.

Word spread through the paddock in Bahrain last weekend that Harman and de Beer were set to leave the Enstone squad, with reports indicating that both men had handed in their resignation even before the 2024 season got underway.

While Harman was present at last weekend’s opening race, Alpine stated on Monday that both engineers “have chosen to leave the team to seek new challenges”.

Regarding the revamp of its engineering department, Alpine has revealed that it has opted for a “three pillared approach” similar to the configuration current exploited by McLaren

The French outfit has created three specialised technical roles and appointed the following individuals: Joe Burnell will fulfill the role of Technical Director-Performance, David Wheater will serve as Technical Director-Aerodynamics, and Ciaron Pilbeam has been appointed as Technical Director-Engineering.

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Alpine has been grappling with challenges since last year. Last summer, the F1 outfit split after the Belgian GP with team boss Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane, while CTO Pat Fry opted to join Williams.

Those departures followed the exit from the team in mid-July of former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, while former Renault top engine man Bruno Famin was placed at the helm of the F1 squad.

The team’s mediocre performance in pre-season testing and in last weekend’s opening event in Bahrain, where drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finished in the lower tier of the field, certainly suggested an urgent review of the team’s operations.

“We have decided to make these organisational changes as we can clearly see that we are not where we want nor need to be in terms of performance level and it is time to take another step in terms of organisation and people,” commented Famin.

“The new three-pillared structure with three Technical Directors, each specialising in different areas, will bring better work and collaboration across our technical areas and contribute to delivering performance from the factories to the race track.

“I trust fully in the abilities of Joe, David and Ciaron to work closely together in bringing the team the performance and improvements that it needs.

“Finally, I would like to thank Matt and Dirk for their efforts over the last couple of years at the team and wish them the very best in the next chapter of their careers.”

Alpine added that Eric Meignan is leading the technical team in Viry-Chatillon on the power unit side, while John Woods and Audrey Vastroux have started their tenures as Chief Operating Officers at Enstone and Viry respectively.

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Phillip van Osten

Motor racing was a backdrop from the outset in Phillip van Osten's life. Born in Southern California, Phillip grew up with the sights and sounds of fast cars thanks to his father, Dick van Osten, an editor and writer for Auto Speed and Sport and Motor Trend. Phillip's passion for racing grew even more when his family moved to Europe and he became acquainted with the extraordinary world of Grand Prix racing. He was an early contributor to the monthly French F1i Magazine, often providing a historic or business perspective on Formula 1's affairs. In 2012, he co-authored along with fellow journalist Pierre Van Vliet the English-language adaptation of a limited edition book devoted to the great Belgian driver Jacky Ickx. He also authored "The American Legacy in Formula 1", a book which recounts the trials and tribulations of American drivers in Grand Prix racing. Phillip is also a commentator for Belgian broadcaster Be.TV for the US Indycar series.

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