Formula 1

Alpine sack veteran operations director White

Alpine sack veteran operations director White

Alpine are ninth in the constructors’ championship [Getty Images]

Alpine have sacked veteran operations director Rob White in the latest example of the management turmoil at the struggling French team.

The 58-year-old had been at Alpine's parent company Renault in Formula 1 for 20 years, and in the role of director of operations at their Enstone factory since 2016.

He was sacked by team principal Bruno Famin, with the factory told of the decision on Wednesday.

White is a widely respected engineer who joined Renault in 2004 as deputy managing director of engines at their F1 facility at Viry-Chatillon in Paris. He had previously been head of F1 engine operations at UK motorsport engine-builder Cosworth.

An Alpine spokesperson said: "As part of the team's wider operational restructure, we can confirm the departure of Rob White.

"The team is thankful for Rob's efforts during his long career both at Enstone and at Viry-Chatillon, where he led the championship-winning engine project in 2005 and 2006. We wish him the best in his future endeavours."

White is the latest in a series of management casualties at Alpine since Famin was put in charge by Renault chief executive officer Luca de Meo last July.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane were the first to go – leaving in the middle of last year's Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Following the team's disappointing start to the 2024 season, technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer resigned in March.

Days later, the highly regarded design engineer Bob Bell – who has had successful spells at many teams in F1, including McLaren and Mercedes in addition to Renault – left and joined Aston Martin.

These departures were initially covered by an internal reshuffle, but in May the team signed former Ferrari and McLaren engineer David Sanchez as executive technical director to lead their design facility.

Renault's F1 team were rebranded as Alpine in 2021, when they finished fifth in the constructors' championship.

They climbed to fourth in 2022, during which they lost both Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri as a result of mismanagement – Alonso went to Aston Martin for 2023 and Piastri, then Alpine’s reserve driver, moved to McLaren.

Fortunes dipped in 2023, and Alpine slipped to sixth. This year, they are ninth in the constructors’ championship after the first eight races and their car is the second slowest in the field on average qualifying pace.

A recent floor upgrade has produced disappointing results in terms of performance, and in Monaco last weekend their drivers crashed together on the opening lap.

As a result Esteban Ocon, who had tried to pass team-mate Pierre Gasly at Portier despite being told by the team before the race to hold station, was given a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Canada.

Famin told French television after the race there would be "consequences" as a result of the incident but has not elaborated on what these might be.

Ocon is tipped to leave Alpine at the end of the season.

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