Former Alpine chief Alan Permane set for F1 return with AlphaTauri

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Alan Permane is set to return to Formula 1 with a potential move to the rebranded AlphaTauri team.

The former Alpine Sporting Director spent 34 years in F1 under the various guises of the Enstone-based team, including Benetton, Renault, Lotus and Alpine.

Permane left the French team last year on the same weekend the team principal Otmar Szafnauer departed the squad during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner praised Permane following the announcement of his depature at the Belgian Grand Prix: “Alan Permane is one of the rocks of F1,” he said. “He is one of the longest-standing senior engineers in the sport and certainly someone with a lot of knowledge.

“I don’t know about the ins and outs of the management reshuffle there, but there is a lot of very respectable people in there. And definitely, you shouldn’t discount anyone of that seniority.”

F1’s longest-serving current Team Principal suggested that Permane would be a great asset to an F1 team after his success, leading drivers to multiple world titles.

“Whilst I’ve never worked with Alan Permane, I think sometimes there has to be respect shown for somebody that’s put in 34 years of hard graft and been involved in world championships with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso,” he said. 

“He has also been a steady hand during periods of that team going into administration, and out of administration, and into different ownership and so on.

“He’s very much been a constant there during that period. I think that earns respect and recognition, and I’m sure he’s a guy, like with Otmar, that won’t find themselves out of work. 

“It won’t be the last you’ve seen of them in the pitlane, no doubt about that.” 

While the Brit is respected in most quarters, not everyone who’s worked with him gives a ringing endorsement. Renault World Champion mechanic Chris Hessey was critical of his style in an exclusive interview with Pit Debrief last month.

AlphaTauri is set to undergo a rebrand this season alongside multiple changes in senior positions, with Ferrari’s Laurent Mekies being brought in as Team Principal. The Frenchman will work alongside CEO Peter Bayer.

An Alpine being driven on the track
Photo Credit: Alpine

The 2024 season begins on Saturday, 2 March, in Bahrain and is the longest season ever at 24 races. The campaign will see the return of the Chinese Grand Prix for the first time since 2019.