Alpine would reportedly be open to strategic support from an investor to fast-track its road-car plans.
Alpine is seeking investment in its Formula 1 team to fast-track the development and global sales of its future road cars, Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar has exclusively revealed.
The cash injection is believed to be sought to accelerate Alpine’s plans to rapidly grow from a single-model, sports-car-only brand with a Europe-centric audience to a fully electrified Porsche rival with global appeal.
Alpine has already committed to replacing its lauded Alpine A110 sports car, as well as launching a Renault 5-based hot hatchback and a rakish-roofed sporting crossover by 2026 in a plan formulated under the leadership of CEO Luca de Meo, and last month also confirmed ambitions to launch luxury sports car EVs in the D- and E-segments.
Significantly, the SUV and two luxury sports cars are likely to be aimed at winning acclaim beyond Alpine’s heartland in Europe, most significantly in North America and China. As well as helping fund the vehicle developments, it is believed that Alpine also hopes an investor could be a strategic partner in helping it establish footholds in these territories faster than it could achieve by itself if it had to set up an operation from scratch.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has previously talked about expanding the brand’s global reach by “four to five times” – a significant and costly undertaking.
This raises the prospect of a deal with Lotus, which has similarly ambitious plans to grow its network and sales figures, and its owner Geely, which recently entered into a joint venture with Renault to continue making combustion engines. Alpine is already working with Lotus on the joint development of the A110 successor, as well as also exploring “the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise”.
Furthermore, when Alpine and Lotus announced their initial collaboration on the A110 successor last year, they also said that they would undertake “a collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula 1 to Endurance”, suggesting that the motorsport activities of the French brand were of interest to Lotus and its owner Geely..
However, Autocar has been cautioned about assuming the deal will be between these two parties, most notably as it is not clear how Lotus could co-brand an F1 team with Alpine. Nevertheless, the deal would give Geely a foothold in the sport’s top category and give it the option of potentially taking over the team at a future date.
Autocar sources insist that no deal is done, and that Alpine is open to investment from any party, ranging from another manufacturer with complementary goals such as Lotus, through to taking on investors who are excited by the potential of the F1 programme, both from a marketing perspective and from the growing value of teams as profit centres as a result of the recent cost cap initiative.
Nevertheless, initial talks are believed to have begun with a suite of potential investors. Alpine sources are adamant that the firm is only seeking funding in return for a share of the F1 team. It has ruled out floating the road car division or selling the F1 team outright.
There is precedent for F1 teams to be marketed by a manufacturer but owned by multiple parties, with Mercedes, which is co-owned by the road car company, chemical company Ineos and team principal Toto Wolff equally, being the most notable example.
Alpine’s potential sale of a stake in the F1 team was first hinted at in the Renault Group’s so-called Capital Markets Day (CMD) event last month, which was titled ‘Renaulution, now Revolution’. In the accompanying presentation, headlined Alpine, it said: “Alpine is set to expand globally with half of its future growth outside of Europe [by] leveraging commercial partnerships and investor support. Alpine is open to capitalise on the financial valuation of its F1 team assets.”
Asked what that meant, a Renault Group statement said: “Alpine’s roadmap presented during the CMD is funded by Renault Group and plans to access commercial partners and investors to accelerate international expansion.” No further comment was made. It is not clear if the engine division would be included in the investment plan. Based in Viry-Châtillon outside Paris, it has long been established as an independent part of the firm’s involvement in the sport, supplying engines to Red Bull in its early championship years.
Alpine was fourth in the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship, beating McLaren.