The Alpine F1 Team have marked a momentous occasion by launching their first ever entry into the FIA Formula One World Championship in the form of the A521.
The new car is painted in the rather striking blue, white and red livery, synonymous with Alpine’s motorsport pedigree and sports car heritage. This season’s car will be powered by the Renault E-TECH 20B 1.6-litre V6 engine, designed and developed in Viry-Châtillon, which marks 45 consecutive years of F1 activity for Renault.
The new A521 is an evolution of the R.S.20, which competed in the 2020 championship under Renault, and in line with the regulatory changes agreed last year in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the main structural elements of the A521 are pretty much carried over from last season’s car.
That said, Alpine has developed and improved every part that has not been homologated, particularly at the rear of the car, where additional changes have been made as a result of aerodynamic regulations introduced by the FIA for the 2021 season.
The team’s driver line up for this season includes Esteban Ocon and two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, who joins the team after a two year break from F1. Esteban Ocon, who drove for Renault last year, will be looking to build on his strong 2020 performance which saw the 24-year-old Frenchman score his first ever podium in F1 at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. This will be his fourth full season in F1 since making his debut in August 2016.
Meanwhile Alpine Academy driver Guanyu Zhou will continue in his role as the team’s Test Driver, while also competing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship for UNI-Virtuosi.
Luca De Meo, CEO Groupe Renault, said:
“It is a true joy to see the powerful, vibrant Alpine name on a Formula One car. New colours, new managing team, ambitious plans: it’s a new beginning, building on a 40-year history. We’ll combine Alpine’s values of authenticity, elegance and audacity with our in-house engineering and chassis expertise. That’s the beauty of racing as a works team in Formula One. We will compete against the biggest names, for spectacular car races made and followed by cheering enthusiasts. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
The team will be headed up under the new leadership trio of Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, Executive Director Marcin Budkowski and Racing Director Davide Brivio. Leading the technical teams at Enstone and Viry respectively will continue to be Pat Fry as Chassis Technical Director and Rémi Taffin as Engine Technical Director.
Laurent Rossi commented:
“Today we are proud to present Alpine F1 Team’s first ever Formula One car that will compete in the 2021 championship. This is an important milestone for Alpine, as it positions itself as the brand at the forefront of Groupe Renault’s innovation. Alpine naturally finds its place in the high standards, prestige and performance of Formula One and we’re eagerly anticipating the debut of the A521 piloted by our drivers, two-time Formula One World Drivers’ Champion Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon. This year our objective is clear, to continue the momentum that was garnered last year and fight for podiums. Our long-term vision is to see the Alpine name on the top step of the podium in Formula One. Motorsports is in our DNA and now is the time for Alpine colours to race and compete in the pinnacle of motor racing in Formula One.”
Esteban Ocon said:
“I’m very much looking forward to starting the season and having the first taste of the A521 in Bahrain. It’s been a long and busy off-season full of preparation and I, along with the team, feel ready for the year ahead. I love the new Alpine colours and as a Frenchman, it’s a great pride to carry the French flag on the car. I feel more prepared than last year and I think that’s just natural as I’m entering this season having had a full year racing in 2020. I want to start the season at the same level as I finished last year, and I can’t see any reasons why that can’t be the case. Working with Fernando is going to be fantastic. He’s a driver I’ve looked up to and a person I’ve taken inspiration from since a long time. I look forward to collaborating with him and pushing him on track to ensure the team meets its goals.”
Fernando Alonso added:
“I’m very excited to be back in Formula One and to be part of Alpine F1 Team’s next chapter in the sport. I’ve been working hard to prepare myself for racing back in Formula One and the target is to attack from the beginning. Driving the car for the first time is going to be a very exciting experience and I hope both factories can savour the moment. We have a strong team and together with Esteban we must push on from last year and deliver results. We know it’s going to be a very competitive season, but we’re ready for the challenge. The car looks great and I have fond memories of racing with blue in Formula One.”
For more information on the Alpine F1 Team and Alpine Cars, please visit www.alpinecars.com
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Alpine Cars