The French factory behind Alpine and Esteban Ocon’s first F1 victory

The Alpine team won the first F1 Grand Prix in its history on August 1, 2021, thanks to the composure and talent of its French driver Esteban Ocon (well helped by his Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso, and by racing circumstances favorable). A success that reflects on the employees of the Alpine factory in Dieppe (Seine-Maritime). But not in a direct way, this historic site for the brand not producing F1.

The Alpine F1 team is actually driven from two Renault Sport factories: that of Enstone (Great Britain), which develops the chassis, and Viry-Châtillon (Essonne), which manufactures the engine. Each has a little over 500 employees.

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The second, built in 1969, has undergone major expansion and modernization work since 2019. Its surface area has increased from 12,000 to 16,000 m2. Because F1 is as much a race for the clock as it is a race for technology. The teams that design, manufacture and test hybrid V6 engines for F1 have more space and state-of-the-art equipment.

At the factory as well as at the circuit

During a weekend of grand prix, activity is as frantic in the factory as on the track. Because a team of engine engineers follows each session remotely as if it were on site in a hyper-connected “operations room”. Video and GPS data from the sensors are received and analyzed in real time, allowing the right decisions to be made as quickly as possible. RTL had been able to visit this hyper-secure room in 2019, when the team was still called Renault F1.

Track data can be compared to simulations. Test bench tests can be performed at the factory over a race weekend to assess the effect of a change in engine mapping or software. The “factory” team is therefore fully integrated into the racing team, even thousands of kilometers away!


Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.

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