Number one driver “doesn’t exist" at Alpine for 2021 F1 season

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says there will be no number one driver at the team for the 2021 F1 season.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault F1 Team with Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault F1 Team in the Renault R25.
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault F1 Team with Esteban Ocon (FRA) Renault F1…

Fernando Alonso will not have number one driver status over Esteban Ocon for the 2021 Formula 1 season, according to Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

Two-time world champion Alonso is making his comeback to F1 this season with the newly-rebranded Alpine squad, having last raced in the championship with McLaren in 2018.

Alonso will partner Frenchman Ocon for what will mark his third stint at the Enstone-based team with whom he won both his world titles between 2005 and 2006.

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Speaking at the French manufacturer’s launch of its A521 challenger on Tuesday, Alpine CEO Rossi insisted that neither driver will receive preferential treatment during the upcoming campaign.

“That doesn't exist,” Rossi replied when asked if Alpine has number one and number two contracts for its drivers.

“I don't think it exists in many teams to be honest, at least not in ours. The drivers have to be as fast as possible and will clearly challenge each other.

“That's like healthy competition and that's about it. There's no instruction and no number one driver.”

The team bounced back from its disappointing 2019 campaign in 2020 and ended a nine-year wait for a rostrum, recording a total of three podiums throughout the 17-round season en route to clinching fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

Number one driver “doesn’t exist

For 2021, Alpine is once again looking to compete for regular podiums amid a year of “transition” before sweeping regulation changes come into force in 2022. After which, Rossi outlined Alpine’s ambition to return to winning ways during F1’s new era.

“It is obvious that it's a transition year for everyone in fact, not just for us,” Rossi explained.

“For this year the car's an improved version of last year. Of course it's a bit different but it's an evolution more than disruption in terms of design both from the engine and the chassis side.

“So what we hope is to do at least as well as we did last year. That is to say, be a consistent contender for podiums and fight with the best for good to great results during the races.

“[For F1’s new era] our objectives are pretty, pretty aggressive,” he added.

“We want to tackle the new era with high ambitions and we decisively designed our processes, our team, in order to first compete for podiums in the mid-term.

“Then in the longer run compete for victories, and not just races, but also the championship - the driver and the title of the constructor championship.

“By the end of the era, this is what we want to accomplish. We don't enter the field with the hope of doing well, we enter the field with the hope of winning.”

Alpine’s new A521 will make its on track debut today as Ocon completes a shake down test at Silverstone.

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