Abiteboul was a long-time employee of the organisation, and was Team Principal of the Renault F1 Team before its rebrand as Alpine in 2021, when he departed.

Over two years later in 2023, Alpine go into the summer break well off the pace of the top five, and are in no man’s land between the battle for P2 and the points battlers in the Constructors’ Championship. 

Why the fight for 2nd in the Constructors Championship is so exciting...

Abiteboul criticised the lack of a lead driver in the team amidst their struggles, when speaking to France Info about the situation: “You mention Esteban [Ocon] and Pierre [Gasly]. Two names is one too many.

“When you close your eyes and think of Mercedes, you think of Lewis Hamilton, even though Nico Rosberg did some extraordinary things. When you think of Red Bull, you think of the first cycle around Sebastian Vettel, then the second cycle around Max Verstappen.”

Gasly was brought into the team for the start of the 2023 season, following the departures of both Fernando Alonso and junior driver Oscar Piastri this time last year. It was a catastrophic turn of events for the team, as they not only lost a two-time world champion in Alonso, but also an F2 winner in Piastri, who they had invested millions into to fund his career.

Alonso made the move to Aston Martin, while Piastri was snapped up by McLaren. Both have found top three finishes in races this season.

This year’s summer break hasn’t looked any better on the French team. Key personnel such as Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane were announced as leaving the team mid-weekend in Belgium, all while looking to bounce back from a double DNF a week prior in Hungary.

With Szafnauer gone just 18 months into his reign, they now once again find themselves without a leader. Abiteboul disapproved of their multiple changes of management: “Every element that is changed potentially puts the team spirit and culture at risk. It is these two aspects in particular that are lacking at Alpine,” he said.

“The investments have been made, the resources, the group’s ambitions, the corporate strategy with the Alpine brand – it’s all there. When a team has everything, it needs something that transcends it, someone to drive it.

“The strength of an individual who can pull 1,000 people together is very unifying.”