Davide Brivio explains his role as racing director, and how he found his way to F1 after success in MotoGP, as Marcin Budkowski adds on the changes too.
Brivio played a significant role in Suzuki’s 2020 MotoGP championship win, and similarly brought great success to Yamaha in the 2000s and throughout the early 2010s. The Italian says he departed MotoGP to inject “oxygen” into his professional life, saying he “had to” pursue a future outside of bike racing in order to avoid a feeling of discontent.
F1 had been a “dream” landing spot for Brivio, the 56 year old says: “Of course, it was not easy to leave my old team, an environment which I knew very well,” he said to media including FormulaRapida.net. “[However] Formula 1 has been for me a dream for a long time, and it’s very exciting for me to start something completely new, and to get into a new environment.
“Of course I have a lot to learn, I have a lot to understand, but it’s adrenaline for me, it’s oxygen, to get to work and to learn a lot of things. It was an opportunity which I felt I had to take, probably I would have regretted it if I would not have taken it,” Brivio said, speaking candidly.
“So now here I am, and I will try to do my best, and I hope I can contribute something to the Alpine Formula 1 team with my experience. It won’t be easy, I need some time, but I’m fully committed to try and get involved as best as possible,” Brivio promised.
At Alpine, the former Suzuki team member assumes the role of racing director, which he explains means he is responsible for activities at the circuit, leading the race team – which he says aims to extract the maximum from the car built at the team’s factories. Brivio calls this a ‘big responsibility’.
“Basically I will be in charge of the track operations, track activities, so everything happens on the circuit,” said Brivio. “Basically our job as a race team is to exploit the full potential of the car. In Enstone, there is a lot of people, actually there is big pressure and big responsibility because we have over 1,000 people between Enstone and Viry preparing the chassis, the car, the power unit, and our job [is] to extract the full potential of the car.
“So I will be in charge of that. And of course…. I’m not an engineer, but I have to try to make sure engineers, mechanics, the drivers, all the people involved, they have all they need to perform at the very best. In this way, if we are able to have a strong team, which is already in place, we will be able to extract the full potential of the car.
“So that’s the job, the job is to go to the circuit, go around the world, and try to get the best out of what more than 1,000 people have prepared at home. So, we have a big responsibility and big pressure, because we have to give a value to their job,” Brivio explains. He fills a role distinctly different to that of technical director Marcin Budkowski, who spearheads work at the factory.
With Brivio now taking over full-time operations at the track, Budkowski can devote his time to developing a competitive car without worrying about the race team, the latter explains. Budkowski considers this approach a necessity in modern F1: “In today’s Formula 1 world, with the complexity of a Formula 1 team, especially one that does chassis and engines, we have a base in the UK, we have a base in France.
“We have 23 races, potentially 25 in the future, COVID restrictions means potential quarantines etc. Honestly, in these conditions, managing a team and going to all races is very, very difficult. For me, it’s personally great to have Davide on board, apart from all the skills he brings from his other motorsport experiences, but it means I won’t have to go to all the races.
“It means I will probably do the majority of them, but probably start skipping a few in the second half of the season. We have somebody in Davide who has got a lot of trackside experience, a lot of soft skills, acquired as a team manager in other categories. He knows how to manage drivers, he knows how to motivate them, he knows how to organize a garage.
“It’s going to be a great contribution to have him there, and we can share the role and really make sure that we don’t leave anything without the attention that it requires,” Budkowski shared, as he noted about being surprise at the departure of Cyril Abiteboul. The team hasn’t replaced him straight but came up with a dual role.
Here’s Esteban Ocon driving Alpine A521, Marcin Budkowski on changes