Earlier this week DSC reported that Alpine were “considering” a move to LMP1, an article which followed a live interview during scrutineering.
Indeed, Signatech Alpine Team Manager Phillipe Sinault and lead driver Nicolas Lapierre had discussed that very subject with some enthusiasm and passion at the Place de la Republique. On seeing the written article Sinault wished to clarify some points that might have been over-emphasised or not taken entirely as intended by some.
“Maybe there is a problem with the word ‘considering’. I want to explain that of course, for Alpine, I would love to see us race in the top class and go for overall race wins once more. It is not surprising that any manufacturer, or that Nico [Lapierre], would want the same thing.
“But the reality is that we have not even started making the decision-making process.
“We have three key aims at the moment, and they do not include Alpine in P1. The first is that we are here to win Le Mans this weekend and the second is that we also want to win the WEC P2 Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships. The third is that we want to have a competitive car in WEC P2 next season, because we have already announced that we will be back.
“We need to know what the ‘face’ of the regulations is before we can really start to discuss and properly consider the decision. If we do not know what the rules are going to be, then how can we make any kind of firm decision?
“What I meant was that, for sure, P1 is my dream and for Nico, driving in P1 with Alpine is his dream too. But the reality is there is a process. First we must find out what the rules are, and that will happen tomorrow for the first time. This is quite unique because normally we know some of the rules and the likely direction before the rules are confirmed but this time we really don’t know and there is only 13 months to develop and build the car.
“I think any manufacturer would love to enter P1 but there has to be a marketing reason and a fit with the available budget and none of this can start to fall into place until we see the regulations. I want to be clear that it is my job to support Alpine in the race programmes that they choose to pursue. I can provide my view to them, and my preferences, but I will follow their decision. It could be P1, it could be P2, it could be GTE.
“Obviously, if the rule set means that a P2 car can be developed into a P1 car, then we are closer to being able to do that than if we had to design and build an entirely new car.”