Davide Brivio’s exit from MotoGP world champion team Suzuki has been confirmed, ahead of an imminent announcement of his move to the Alpine Formula 1 team.
A title-winning team boss at Yamaha and Suzuki, Brivio’s departure from the latter comes just a few months after guiding it to the first MotoGP title of its comeback.
Suzuki announced his exit on Thursday morning, and he is poised to be announced imminently as the CEO of the Alpine F1 team for the first season of its Renault rebrand.
“A new professional challenge and opportunity suddenly came to me and in the end I decided to take it,” said Brivio.
“It has been a difficult decision. The hardest part will be to leave this fabulous group of people, whom I started this project with when Suzuki rejoined the championship.
“And it’s hard to say goodbye also to all the people who have arrived over the years to create this great team.
“I feel sad from this point of view, but at the same time I feel a lot of motivation for this new challenge – which was the key when I had to decide between renewing my contract with Suzuki or starting a completely new experience.”
Brivio is expected to fit into a revised management structure without team boss Cyril Abiteboul in a hands-on leadership role, as Abiteboul is likely to move into a broader Alpine position covering its revived road-car programme as well.
Renault’s new boss Luca de Meo reinforced the group’s commitment to F1 last year but the Alpine revival was at the heart of that, following the decision to make the performance brand a key part of Renault’s overall automotive strategy moving forward.
As Alpine, the team will likely have lower corporate pressure given the absence of any F1 heritage for the brand, especially as the Renault/Alonso association is so intrinsically linked to the 2005-06 titles.
However, Brivio will not move to a team without expectations or ambition. Alpine is expected to pick up where Renault and attempt to establish itself as the biggest threat to Mercedes and Red Bull ahead of 2022.
The first season for the Alpine name coincides with Fernando Alonso’s F1 comeback. The two-time world champion signed a deal with Renault last year to partner the team for a third time.
As Renault, the Enstone-and-Viry-run operation fought for third place in the constructors’ championship in 2020 but had to settle for fifth for the second season in a row.
It is yet to establish itself as the leading midfield runner let alone break clear and challenge the top teams.
However, it did finally end its wait for a first podium since rejoining the grid as a works team in 2016, with Daniel Ricciardo recording two third-place finishes and Esteban Ocon taking a second place.
Renault also made good progress with its car, unlike the previous year when its development programme faltered.
Major new technical rules will come info force in 2022, and while preparation for that has already begun – including windtunnel and CFD work being permitted as of January 1 – Brivio is joining in time to heavily influence that process.
He will also play a significant role in Alpine’s adaptation to F1’s new $145m budget cap.