Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi has revealed that Fernando Alonso was central in the manufacturer's decision to enter the new LMDh category in the World Endurance Championship.
Alonso is a two-time winner of the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race taking honours on both occasions with Toyota.
The new hypercar LMDh category will be fully introduced to WEC next year with Alpine set to join the mix in 2024.
Alonso's F1 contract is up at the end of the current season and although it is expected the Spaniard will agree a new deal, Rossi is keen to retain Alonso as part of the Renault Groupe after he leaves the paddock.
"It has always been part of the discussion," said Rossi. "Last year, even when we were discussing for the renewal for this year, we talked about the fact that Fernando is a legend of the sport but also a legend of the Renault Groupe.
"For us, he is a double-champion and he is always going to have a seat in LMDH. The day he switches, he will be welcome. It is his team.
"Obviously, this is part of the discussion. We actually made that decision also thinking about him in the first place."
Alpine open to Piastri loan
With Alonso and Esteban Ocon both likely to remain with Alpine into next season, the latter holding a contract to the end of 2024, reserve driver Oscar Piastri could face another year on the sidelines after taking the 2021 F2 title.
But Rossi, however, is confident that Alpine will be able to find a seat for the Australian in F1.
"We are working on scenarios for them both [Alonso and Piastri] to drive and scenarios that are very plausible, very sensible and that we would imagine would satisfy both drivers.
"I'd be open to loaning Oscar out to a team as long as I get him back. We have invested heavily in Oscar, we believe in him. That is why he is our reserve driver.
"He is a promising talent and we would love to fit this talent in the team.
"So a loan, like many other drivers, starting in a team to learn the tricks and then coming back to us would be a good scenario."