Alpine hires ex-McLaren exec as new chief operating officer


As part of an ongoing management restructure, Alpine F1 has announced that it has recruited John Woods to fill the role of chief operating officer at Enstone where he will help oversee an expansion of facilities.

The appointment mirrors a similar move at the team’s power unit base in Viry, which has seen parent company Renault appoint long-time team veteran Audrey Vastroux to a comparable role.

It’s all part of ongoing changes to the way the team is run following the exit of Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane as team principal and sporting director respectively following last year’s Belgian GP.

Alpine vice-president of motorsports Bruno Famin subsequently took over as team boss, initially on an interim basis but now confirmed in the role for 2024.

Woods and his counterpart in Viry will oversee the facilities in their respective locations, allowing Famin to focus on the operation of the race team itself.

“The COO position is very much a back office position,” Famin told Motorsport.com this week. “And we really need somebody who knows the operation.

“[Woods] is very much a guy from the factory, and this is what I need to operate the factory,” he continued. “Right now he’s at Lotus Cars, and he was for quite a long time in McLaren Automotive

“He will not interfere with the technical director,” Famin emphasised. “His role will be to give the technical director and the sporting director the means to work, following budget, compliance, etc.”

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Despite his background with McLaren and Lotus, Woods experience to date has been in sports cars rather than F1. But that’s not a problem as far as Famin is concerned.

“He is a very pragmatic guy. He is not an F1 guy, but we don’t need an F1 guy for that,” he explained. “He very experienced, very pragmatic, close to the people.

“He’s willing, he’s not afraid to make to make changes, and he will have a fresh view on what we’re doing,” Famin added.

“I really hope these two COOs in Enstone on in Viry will really be a strong support, both for me and for on for everybody on site.

“With 24 races a year it’s complicated to be away. It’s good to have somebody on site,” he said. “Having somebody 100 per cent based in Viry and somebody 100 per cent based in Enstone will really help in the day-the-day operations.”

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Woods previously worked at Group Lotus in a variety of roles including head of manufacturing for 11 years from 2005. He was at McLaren Automotive as head of new model launch from 2016 to 2023 before returning to Lotus briefly last year.

His Viry counterpart Audrey Vastroux joined Renault in 2005 as an engine test engineer in 2006. She has since held a number of roles within the organisation, from head of the project management office to director of testing and operations.

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