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Alpine lacks lead driver in Hamilton and Verstappen mould, says former F1 boss

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Following the replacement of Laurent Rossi as Alpine CEO, group principal Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane have left by mutual consent following final weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

With chief technical officer Pat Fry also moving to Williams, the eye on Enstone has been squarely centered on the depleted senior-level construction.

PLUS: Why ‘football manager’ approach to F1 team principals won’t boost Alpine’s form

However Abiteboul, who served as managing director of the group below its earlier Renault guise till a 2021 rebrand, reckons the group additionally requires a clearly outlined talismanic lead driver.

Talking to broadcast community France Data, the present Hyundai World Rally group boss mentioned Alpine wanted to take inspiration from Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes or Sebastian Vettel then Max Verstappen taking cost at Purple Bull.

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He mentioned of present drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly: “You point out Esteban and Pierre. Two names is one too many.

“Whenever you shut your eyes and consider Mercedes, you consider Lewis Hamilton – despite the fact that Nico Rosberg did some extraordinary issues.

“Whenever you consider Purple Bull, you consider the primary cycle round Sebastian Vettel. Then the second cycle round Max Verstappen.

“You want a driver who can be a little bit of a group boss, and this energy of personification is key.

“In the mean time, the grid may be very aggressive with all vehicles ending on the identical lap.

“Shortly, there shall be a near-level taking part in subject. What’s going to make the distinction is ambition and dedication.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault F1 with Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault F1 Workforce

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

When Abiteboul was on the helm, the squad paired Nico Hulkenberg with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo earlier than inserting the Australian alongside team-mate Ocon for 2020.

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Abiteboul added that the present upheaval at Alpine, and absence of a frontrunner, risked the “group spirit and tradition”, components that have been now each poor on the group.

He mentioned: “Each ingredient that’s modified probably places the group spirit and tradition in danger.

“It’s these two facets particularly which are missing at Alpine.

“The investments have been made, the assets, the group’s ambitions, the company technique with the Alpine model – it is all there.

“When a group has every part, it wants one thing that transcends it, somebody to drive it.

“The power of a person who can pull 1000 folks collectively may be very unifying.”

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