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Alpine F1 Team

How Alpine plan to recruit from other teams

It's no secret that one of the methods an F1 team can use to improve their chances of moving up the grid is through poaching staff from other teams. Alpine plans to start a recruitment drive as part of their resurgence to the top of the grid.

Ocon Bahrain test
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Recent history in Formula 1 dictates that teams which 'poach' staff from the top can utilise that expertise and knowledge to increase their chances of finishing further up the grid order.

Although Aston Martin have benefitted from an influx of funding, new facilities, and regulation changes, Lawrence Stroll's early recruitment drive has been a key aspect to their ability to become the 'best of the rest' and beat the Mercedes works team.

While Alpine have set themselves the target of more podiums in 2023, their start has been a continuation of their unfulfilled potential of last year.

The team identified much of what was necessary to get back to the front of the grid at their launch, but now Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer has conceded that more needs to be done to catch up to Mercedes, Ferrari and now Aston Martin.

"Aston hired a lot of people from Red Bull and Mercedes. A lot of them! Not just the two that you know about; Dan Fallows and Eric Blandin," explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.

"There's two things you need to do if you want to shortcut the process; Red Bull have an aerodynamic team of 50 people. The guy who sits on top of the 50, he gets all the learnings of all those 50.

"Then when you displace him, guess what? In his brain is all that learning from all that time, and you shortcut the process of where you're going.

"But then once you've got that, you still need that team of 50 underneath you to continue the development, because you only shortcut it into one spot at a time."

When asked if that will be the tactic of Alpine, Szafnauer replied: "We're going to shortcut it.

"When I said Red Bull probably have 50 people, we're at 38 and we want to grow to 45. So we have spots for seven or eight senior aerodynamicists."

Teams must offer good incentive to move

Alpine's Technical Director, Matt Harman, highlighted how the cost cap era in F1 has enabled their engineers to be more 'multidisciplinary' in their approach and to develop more than one part of their car.

Szafnauer believes teams must offer more to personnel if they want to get them to switch.

As highlighted by the apparent recent attempts from many teams to poach Adrian Newey away from Red Bull, there has to be a benefit to defecting to another team and getting out of that comfort zone.

"You have to understand the people that you're trying to recruit, what they want out of life," Szafnauer explained.

"And can you supply what they want out of life more than the team they're at? And if the answer is 'Yes' then they come."

James Vowles is a case in point at Williams, having made the shock move from Mercedes to become Team Principal with the back-markers over the winter break.

Toto Wolff admitted that the only way for Vowles to progress at Mercedes was if he was to leave the organisation, which he was not yet ready to do.

"Some of them are stuck in an organisation where there is no room for promotion, because your organisation is pretty solid," said Szafnauer.

"Then when you find somebody like that who is a rising star and you say, 'Hey, but I got room for you..' they might come. That's one example."

With Alpine currently sitting level on points with McLaren in P6 in the Constructors' Championship, it is perhaps unsurprising that CEO Laurent Rossi has vented his frustration at the team.

This recruitment drive will be key to appeasing the higher-ups, while also ensuring Alpine are utilising their facilities effectively and help to improve their fortunes.

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