Zinedine Zidane, the legendary French footballer and Alpine ambassador, yesterday welcomed Alpine Racing’s roster of drivers in Madrid, including F1 duo Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, for an immersion day and reflection of the 2023 racing season.
Counting on his decades worth of elite footballing experience, Zidane, as part of his ambassadorial role, is passing on his wealth of knowledge to Alpine’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes including the well-established Rac(H)er and Concours Excellence Mecanique (CEMA).
Launched in July 2022, Alpine’s Rac(H)er programme is designed to reinforce meritocracy across genders in all areas of the company. From racing drivers to engineering and technical roles, the Rac(H)er programme lays out a clear and defined roadmap to increase the diversity of talent within Alpine.
CEMA is Alpine’s programme dedicated to aspiring automotive mechanics. It is sponsored by Esteban with the competition offering opportunities to students in France within the automotive mechanic sector to highlight skills and expertise in the field. The three-stage competition across theory and practical tests has an end outcome of a work placement at Alpine’s Viry Chatillon base in Paris.
Yesterday’s event in Madrid featured an exclusive tour of Real Madrid CF’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and trophy lined museum, of which Zidane has contributed with five honours as a player between 2001-2006 and eleven as a manager during his stint at the helm of Los Blancos from 2016-2021.
Following the stadium tour, Zidane, along with Esteban, Pierre, Alpine’s young drivers and the two 2023 CEMA placement winners, took to A110s to make the short journey across the city to a karting event. Zidane took part, jumping behind the wheel of an electric go-kart, and received guidance and tips from Lisa Billard and Sukhmani Khera, two of Alpine’s Rac(H)er drivers who currently compete in international karting.
After that, it was a complete role reversal, with Zidane hosting a light-hearted football match between all the Alpine drivers.
Zinedine Zidane: “It was a great privilege for me to host the Alpine family in Madrid. It’s also a way to celebrate one year since I joined Alpine. This ambassadorial role, supporting their equal opportunities programmes is of importance to me because of my own path. I am proud to pass on some of my sport life related, and also personal, experiences to Alpine’s Rac(H)er and CEMA programmes. While we come from different areas, we each have a common goal in striving for high performance and excellence. Therefore, it is great to be able to share moments, experiences and ideas for the benefit of those involved in these two magnificent and genuinely meaningful programmes. I look forward to more days like this in the near future and especially hearing of the success and achievements from Rac(H)er and CEMA in years to come.”
Julian Rouse, Interim Sporting Director: "It’s been a really fascinating day in Madrid and we would like to thank Zinedine for hosting us and for his invaluable engagement to our CSR projects. The main goal for us is to utilise Zinedine’s experience and extract that knowledge to the benefit of Rac(H)er and CEMA programmes. For Rac(H)er, I was very proud to see some of our Rac(H)er girls taking part in all the activations during the day and learning from a true sporting icon. The objective now is to continue converting that knowledge into everyday practice and to keep developing our stable of young racing drivers."
Esteban Ocon: “Today was all about being in the presence of a true sporting legend. A huge thank you to Zinedine for a really memorable day. I have been a proud ambassador of the team’s CEMA programme since the very beginning as it is a true passion of mine to inspire the next generation of motorsport mechanics. I’m very happy that, together with Zinedine, we support again the third edition of CEMA, which will begin very soon. To have the two placement winners from CEMA here today was really great to see and goes to show that Alpine’s CSR projects are amongst the best and gives those deserving of it the right opportunities.”
Pierre Gasly: “Zinedine is my sporting hero, so to spend the day with him in Madrid, was a real privilege. Today was all about championing the Rac(H)er and CEMA programmes and, in my role as a racing driver, it is important for me to be a good role model for the next generation, whether that be young female racing drivers like Lisa and Sukhmani, or aspiring future race mechanics. Even for me, to be with Zinedine, to talk and hear of stories and lessons is so valuable. For that, I am very grateful and already look forward to continuing our work with him.”