Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine:
Laurent begins his second year at the helm of Alpine, remaining the figurehead of both the car brand and its Formula 1 operation.
Born in 1975, in Corsica, Laurent took a keen interest in engineering, motorsport and Formula 1 from a young age. An engineer by trade, Laurent holds a Master of Science in Fluid Mechanics from ENSEEIHT (Toulouse) and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering / Automotive Engines & Petroleum Products from IFP School (Paris). He began his career at Groupe Renault in 2000 as Project Leader in the Powertrain Division. Laurent then moved to the USA to obtain an MBA from Harvard Business School, which he achieved in 2009 and was then recruited to work for the Boston Consulting Group in New York as Project Leader, specialising in automobiles.
Laurent remained in America, joining Google in 2012 as Global Accounts Business Manager, leading business relations with key accounts in the automotive industry. By 2018, Laurent returned to Europe and to Paris, to again work for Groupe Renault in Strategy and Business Development, becoming Chief Strategy Officer in April 2018.
With the Alpine name joining the Formula 1 grid ahead of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, Laurent was appointed CEO of Alpine in January of that year, tasked with developing the car brand’s exclusive and innovative line-up, making it profitable by 2025, as well as leveraging its involvement in motorsport.
Away from leading Alpine, Laurent is an avid sports fan with a particular interest in Rugby Union and Football as well as being a competitive Squash player.
Just what can we expect from 2022 for Alpine?
2022 is a very exciting year for Alpine. We came into the sport in 2021 with one mission: to set the foundations for this year, with its massive change of regulations and huge potential for mid-size teams such as ours. We learned a lot; what worked for us, what didn’t, what we needed to improve, and what we needed to consolidate. On the technical side, we have reinforced our already strong management team with Matt Harman stepping up to become Technical Director and Pat Fry becoming Chief Technical Officer. This will give us a simpler approach that will make us more agile as developments come thick and fast in the first part of the year. The rate of progress should be aided by an equally streamlined structure at Viry, with Bruno Famin coming on board. Bruno, from an engineering background with huge experience of making different parts come together and win, is a great asset to our team. I’m also delighted to welcome on board Otmar Szafnauer; together we have all the ingredients to continue the upward curve we started in 2021.
And what are your ambitions with this new-look BWT Alpine F1 Team?
We have multiple ambitions. Fifth is the minimum we need to target after last year’s performance. So far, we have hit our targets and we are happy with the progress we are showing, but we have to be realistic that this year all the cards are thrown in the air. We don’t know where we are going to be until we all hit the track. However, what we all need to bear in mind is that where we start isn’t important; it’s where we finish. We need to continue to show improvement, targeting operational excellence and progress throughout the year.
How has the F1 programme helped Alpine on the road car side?
Our F1 involvement is not just important for Alpine, but also for the wider Renault Group. Firstly, it helps to elevate our technical innovations with mobility solutions tested in the most extreme laboratory imaginable. The addition of Bruno, with his proven track record of moving development from track to road, is very important in this regard. F1 also gives the Group a nice patina of success – it’s not as simple as a win on Sunday, sell on Monday, but the exposure we receive via F1 is unquestionable. We’ve seen the Alpine brand exposure increase by over 300%, which is a very strong result, for potentially less financial impact than a worldwide marketing campaign. We now need to consolidate the strong start we have made. We have very aggressive KPIs, but we need to aim high if we are to get the most from our investment.