Renault CEO Luca de Meo says the Alpine rebrand of his company’s Formula 1 team is not about trying to revive past glories.
The decision to rename Renault’s F1 team as Alpine next year is aimed at building a bigger future for the manufacturer that was founded in the 1950s.
But while Alpine achieved its most famous sporting successes in the 1970s, which included a victory at Le Mans, de Meo insists that the change is not a nostalgia move.
Instead, he sees it as an important step to plot a totally different direction for the Alpine brand, which was resurrected by the Renault company in 2017.
“When I entered the company, I saw Alpine as a brand as a very nostalgic thing,” de Meo told selected media including Autosport ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
“Nostalgia is okay, but I think we need to look at the future. So we need to think in a different way, and use Alpine to build the future: not looking at 60 years ago or 50 years ago.
“If there is a fit, if there is a business opportunity because that’s what we’re trying to do right now, then it is to kind of change a little bit the approach to the [Alpine] story.”
De Meo believes that the rebranding of the Renault F1 team will go far beyond just a change of name as he thinks it will help lead the way for boosting the automotive business.
“We want to see results sooner here [in F1], then what we will be able to see in the [Alpine] company,” he said.
“I think the Alpine spirit will give it let’s say a boost. And I also know that even if Renault is a glorious brand, I think that the fit within the Formula 1 world of Alpine is even better. It can be even better.
“I am a big believer that Formula 1 should be a championship of constructors with brands that make people dream, with the connection possibly between racing on Sunday and selling on Monday.
“So with a connection that the customer can touch in the street: looking at Ferraris, Mercedes, and some glorious names like Williams. And Aston Martin next year It’s good for the sport.”
Although Alpine currently produces just one road car model, de Meo wants to use the F1 platform as the centrepiece for a push to enhance and expand what the company can offer.
He believes that any business boost as a result of the F1 rebrand will make it far more obvious exactly what contribution the grand prix efforts make to the Renault Group.
“I think it will ensure better energy into the motorsports activity,” he said. “In companies sometimes you have high and lows and sometimes people that are not passionate like me, they tend to see that [F1] almost a cost centre.
“I want to turn it into something that substantiates the new business model for the company.”