via Imago

“I didn’t like the first Grand Prix, because there was a lot, sorry to say it, dilettantism or amateurism, to choose the word that sounds best, which led to a result that was not correct, that was mediocre, bad,” said Laurent Rossi publicly lashing out at the team for poor performance at the start of 2023. This created a big uproar as it isn’t a daily occurrence that a team puts out such a divided front. While Rossi claimed his thrashing of the team led to Esteban Ocon‘s third place in the Monaco GP, the far-reaching consequence of the domino effect set in motion has been the worst. As we see one team crumbling to pieces, does that mean we should have allowed Andretti to be a part of F1?

The downfall of Alpine

Rossi and his outburst were not taken well by the world, including the likes of ex-F1 champion Damon Hill. Hill had said, “Laurent Rossi is the finest example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, that of an incapable leader who thinks he can overcome his incompetence by his arrogance and his lack of humanity towards his troops.”


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Soon after, the team began falling apart like a house of cards. And the holes punched in the fabric of Renault turned Alpine, kept getting worse. Rossi was soon fired in favor of Phillippe Krief and only a year-old Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer was also shown the door and his responsibilities were taken up by Bruno Famin. Even the onboarding of the biggest names like Ryan Reynolds and Travis Kelce hasn’t been able to bring back the stability.

The latest development is that after the horrible start of the season, commentators even called it the worst-developed car of the 2024 campaign. And owing to the poor start of the season, we can see resignations pouring in. The world looks like a gloomy place for the French outfit. Ocon and his teammate Pierre Gasly, who became the face of double DNFs in 2023, started the race at the back of the grid and finished 17th and 18th, respectively. And owing to the same, Technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer have resigned from their roles.

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The disastrous domino effect started with Rossi as Damon Hill had pinned the blame on his last year saying, “The one who was the boss of Alpine for 18 months thought he had understood everything from the start when he was totally misguided. His management broke the momentum that had been in place since 2016 to achieve these podiums and this victory.” The reality is that this downfall doesn’t look good for the team which has been world champions in the past and also for the sport either. Does that mean we should start a debate that F1 should have accepted Andretti’s bid?

Should F1 have accepted Andretti’s F1 bid?

In one of the recent perspective pieces, I talked about why there is a need for at least 3 more teams on the grid. That is simply because of the people in waiting and such a closed nature of the sport where only 20 best drivers get to drive. And with Alpine in a pretty shambolic state right now, one tends to wonder if F1 did the right thing to reject the Andretti bid. My answer to that is in the negative because more drivers need to be on the grid and also if one of the 10 teams is falling apart that impacts the sport more as compared to 1 of 11. (simple mathematics) Moreover, the sport which is trying to further its image as a global sport, especially in the US, should have been more open to having another American team on board.


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via Getty

Expressing the hurt, the American team had even released a statement saying, “Andretti Cadillac has reviewed the information Formula One Management Limited has shared and strongly disagrees with its contents. Andretti and Cadillac are two successful global motor sports organizations committed to placing a genuine American works team in F1, competing alongside the world’s best. We are proud of the significant progress we have already made in developing a highly competitive car and power unit with an experienced team behind it, and our work continues at pace. Andretti Cadillac would also like to acknowledge and thank the fans who have expressed their support.”

And I see their point. In the past, teams that have had zero experience and knowledge of the field have been allowed entry into the sport and a team like theirs wasn’t. A bit strange, isn’t it?


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Do you think Andretti should have been allowed to be on the grid?

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Anmol is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a background in journalism and a passion for motorsports, she brings a unique perspective to her coverage of the world of F1. Anmol's interest in the sport was piqued after watching Lewis Hamilton's interview with David Letterman, and she has been a dedicated follower ever since.
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