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Alpine F1 Team

Ex-Alpine engineer slams mindset after mid-season move to rivals

Pat Fry left Alpine mid-season to take up a role with Williams as it rebuilds, and slammed the mindset he felt had crept into the Enstone squad.

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Ex-Alpine Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry has criticised the team's mindset, believing there was "no enthusiasm" to do better than fourth in the Formula 1 standings.

Fry departed Enstone over the summer, electing to take a similar role at Williams as Alpine's senior management all changed.

CEO Laurent Rossi, Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, Sporting Director Alan Permane and CTO Fry all departed in a matter of weeks over the summer as Alpine failed to kick on from a strong 2022 and fourth in the standings to a distant sixth in 2023.

Fry - who started his career at Alpine precursor Benetton before stints at McLaren and Ferrari - has detailed why he decided to leave for a similar role at Williams, calling into question the desire for Alpine to beyond 'best of the midfield' and break into the top teams.

Alpine motivation questioned

“I look back at the first three years I was there, and we improved Enstone, dramatically, year-on-year, we built a better car," Fry explained in Abu Dhabi, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“If you put the three cars next to each other, each one was a massive step. It’s a credit for everyone there, the various teams were collaborating a huge amount better.

I think everyone there should be proud of what we achieved over those three years.

“I guess I’d gone back there to go back to the place [I] started [my] career and try and rebuild it. I think we did really well. From a distant fifth, we were a solid fourth.

“But I didn’t feel there was the enthusiasm or the drive to move forward beyond fourth.

“I decided at the start of March that I want to be pushing things forward, I don’t just want to sit there and not be able to do things. So for me, that was time to stop and move on.

“It’s one of those things, I think as a company, they weren’t almost set up to push hard enough, you can say you want to be first.

“But the difference between saying it and achieving it, is monumental, as we all know.”

Fry's departure coincided with that of Szafnauer - who was more cautious than top management over the timeline for success, with Szafnauer realising it would take considerably longer than management demanded.

“I’m not so sure that Otmar got a fair chance at fixing the place, because to some degree I think metaphorically, your hands are tied, I guess," Fry explained.

“But as I say, I think everyone there should be proud of what we achieved in those first three years.

“It’s always a shame walking away from things. But I think for me, I’d taken them as far as I could. And it was time for me to put my feet up and sit in my garden.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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