Three technical directors: Big change at Alpine after key exits

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Alpine has announced a major restructuring of its technical leadership in the wake of technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer tendering their resignations last month.

News of their resignations broke during Alpine’s desultory Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, in which the team locked out the back row before Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly finished 17th and 18th, ahead only of the heavily-delayed cars of Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams’s Logan Sargeant.

The changes were announced internally at Enstone today, as had been planned before the Bahrain weekend. Harman and De Beer both participated in this announcement and addressed their colleagues.

However, with the news having leaked in Bahrain, it meant that many team personnel found out about the resignations of Harman (pictured below) and De Beer second-hand.

Alpine, F1

The restructure follows the path taken by McLaren with its changes last year, with what Alpine calls “a new three-pillared approach” – meaning a trio of technical directors appointed to work on the chassis side. These are all internal appointments meaning the structure can be implemented with immediate effect.

Joe Burnell has been appointed technical director (engineering), with David Wheater technical director (aerodynamics) and long-time Mark Webber race engineer Ciaron Pilbeam technical director (performance).

Power unit technical director Eric Meignan, who is based at Viry-Chatillon in France, remains in place. All four report to team principal Bruno Famin.

“We have decided to make these organisational changes as we can clearly see that we are not where we want nor need to be in terms of performance level and it is time to take another step in terms of organisation and people,” said Famin.

Alpine, F1

“The new three-pillared structure with three technical directors, each specialising in different areas, will bring better work and collaboration across our technical areas and contribute to delivering performance from the factories to the race track.

“I trust fully in the abilities of Joe, David and Ciaron to work closely together in bringing the team the performance and improvements that it needs.

“Finally, I would like to thank Matt and Dirk for their efforts over the last couple of years at the team and wish them the very best in the next chapter of their careers.”

The Race understands the decisions to resign were made entirely by Harman and De Beer, rather than being under any pressure to do so. The Race understands Harman’s resignation was tendered once the chassis had been successfully homologated, although he was on site for the Bahrain Grand Prix, while de Beer’s came in the build-up to the Bahrain weekend.

Alpine, F1

Their resignations are a consequence of the problems with the 2024 car and the terrible start the season. However, changes to the technical structure are understood to have been under consideration for some time, although it is possible Harman and De Beer have hastened that process by quitting.

In its press release announcing the changes, Alpine stated that “the decision comes after a period of disappointing results in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, where the team has fallen from finishing fourth in the 2022 championship to sixth in 2023, missing several key targets in its ambitions to reach the front of the grid”.

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