Alpine F1 Team grapples with key team resignations amidst early season struggles

Photo Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
Spread the love

The 2024 Formula 1 season has only begun but Alpine F1 Team is dealing with a whirlwind of challenges, including resignations from vital members of the team.

Not only did the team display a poor performance at the season opener in Bahrain, but their technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer have resigned, shifting the team’s dynamic. 

Harman and de Beer are due to leave in April after serving out the notice period on their contracts. Pit Debrief has learned from a source that they handed in their resignations in the final quarter of last year. Both would have been involved in the decision-making regarding the team’s 2024 challenger, nonetheless.

Given the disappointing display during the Bahrain Grand Prix, where drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly found themselves at the back of the grid, it seems the team may need a restructure in order to get back to those fighting positions they were in 2022. Gasly pointed out that the car’s issues are incredibly varied, and that several issues in the A524 need to be remedied. 

Ocon echoed Gasly’s thoughts, emphasising that patience will be necessary as Alpine strives to revamp its performance.

Despite Harman and de Beer being largely responsible for this year’s car, their absence will likely not aid the team’s performance in the short term.

The recent resignations add to a string of setbacks that have plagued the team. Last year we saw a shuffle in the team’s leadership, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer, chief technical officer Pat Fry, and sporting director Alan Permane leaving their roles. The latter had spent over three decades at Enstone before his shock departure. Permane joined RB F1, with Fry now at Williams.

Harman is departing after a five-and-a-half-year stint with Alpine, relatively short in comparison to his previous 18-year-long role with Mercedes in their powertrains department, a role where he had plenty of success.

Similarly, de Beer’s exit signals the loss of an employee with over two decades of work as an aerodynamicist. De Beer has an impressive track record, working with Sauber, Renault, Ferrari, and Williams.