RENAULT-OWNED Alpine are going through a period of ‘pain and trouble’ evidenced by high-level departures from the Formula One team, Williams boss James Vowles told reporters at the Belgian Grand Prix.
He was speaking after Williams, also former champions emerging from a tough period in their history, announced the hiring of Alpine’s chief technical officer Pat Fry to take on the same role.
“I’m not inside, but they’re clearly in a lot of pain and trouble and (going) through a conversion phase,” said Vowles, speaking as an observer.
“The bit I can really say is that Pat’s not a part of that change that they’re going through. Pat’s decision was made many, many months ago.”
Vowles said his first approach was made in January after starting in the job at Williams and he finally convinced Fry, who has had senior roles at McLaren and Ferrari, in April to make the move. He will start at Grove in November.
“He understandably had a journey with Alpine that he wanted to continue but actually by April he could see the vision as to why I had joined Williams and was very much in line and on board with that,” said Vowles.
He identified Fry as someone who knew how to empower and train up the next generation of engineers, and had the experience to put a structure in place for the long term.
On the same day Fry was announced by Williams, Alpine issued a statement saying that team boss Otmar Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane were leaving.