Ryan Reynolds backs Renault’s Alpine Formula 1 team

Wrexham co-owners Rob McElhenney, left, and Ryan Reynolds watch a match between Wrexham and Boreham Wood at The Racecourse Ground, in Wrexham, Wales. (AP)

Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds and AC Milan owner RedBird Capital Partners are leading a group of investors taking a stake in Renault SA’s Alpine Formula 1 team that values the business at $900 million.

RedBird, Otro Capital and Maximum Effort Investments will spend €200 million ($218 million) for a 24% share in Alpine Racing Ltd., the unit helming Alpine’s Formula 1 activities, Renault said. 

Renault Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo’s Formula 1 efforts are a key plank of his strategy of expanding its Alpine sports-car business, even to the U.S.,

and moving toward electrification. After rebranding Renault’s Formula 1 team as Alpine, de Meo is now developing a fully electric lineup of seven models starting with the A290 city car next year and a crossover model in 2025. 

The manufacturer is aiming for more than €8 billion in revenue for the maker of the Alpine A110 sports coupe in 2030, including €1 billion from China assuming it’ll start sales there. The carmaker plans to break even by 2026.

The deal sees Alpine gain access to a seasoned investor group. RedBird, which manages $8.6 billion of capital across sectors including sports, consumer and financial services, led a €1.2 billion takeover of AC Milan last year and also owns the French soccer team Toulouse FC. Alec Scheiner, co-founder and partner of Otro Capital, will join Alpine’s board of directors.

For Reynolds, the move adds another sporting interest to his Maximum Effort Investments, after he and fellow Hollywood actor partner Rob McElhenney took control of UK soccer club AFC Wrexham in 2021. A frequent spectator at games, Reynolds saw the club’s promotion back to the English football league this year. 

Renault’s sale of a 24% stake in its Alpine racing team for €200 million highlights the value of a Formula 1 franchise, but the ambition to expand the Alpine brand to a seven-model range (from one) and a 10% Ebit margin on €8 billion revenue by 2030 appears overly optimistic vs. sales of only 3,546 units in 2022. Though the brand gained some notoriety in the 1980s, French automakers have yet to make meaningful inroads into the premium segment.

The Alpine team finished fourth in the Formula 1 standings last season. While driver Esteban Ocon came in third at the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix last month, the start to this year’s Formula 1 championship has been otherwise difficult. The team is currently fifth in constructor standings, behind Red Bull

Racing, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

Alpine Racing SAS, the entity manufacturing F1 engines in Viry-Châtillon, France, will remain 100% owned by Renault. Bloomberg earlier reported on the talks.