Alpine announces Otmar Szafnauer’s shock exit

Alpine announces Otmar Szafnauer's shock exit

Alpine’s team principal Otmar Szafnauer will immediately exit the team after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

After only 18 months in the role, Alpine has announced that Formula 1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer is leaving the Enstone based outfit. The team also added Szafnauer will leave by “mutual agreement” after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Alpine stated that he will carry out his responsibilities as usual through this weekend’s race in Belgium before parting ways with the squad in preparation for the summer break.

In an official statement, Alpine revealed: “The team would like to thank Otmar for his hard work over the past 18 months and for leading the team in achieving fourth place in the 2022 constructors’ championship.

“The team wishes him the best for the future.”

Szafnauer switched from Aston Martin to the French squad at the beginning of the previous season but by the midway point of the 2023 season, McLaren and the team he left were ahead of Alpine in the standings.

Bruno Famin, who was appointed earlier this month to the newly created position of VP of Alpine Motorsport, will take over for him in the interim. Famin, who formerly worked at Peugeot and the FIA, was the head of the Renault group in Viry-Chatillon before to his most recent position.

Alan Permane, the sporting director, will also leave Renault which owns the Alpine brand and has a 34-year association with the brand. He will be replaced Alpine Academy director Julian Rouse on an interim basis.

As an electronics engineer, Permane first joined the Benetton group in 1989. He remained a member of the team throughout the career of Michael Schumacher, who won the world championship in 1994 and 1995.

In 1996, he was hired as a junior race engineer and promoted to full race engineer the following year. During this time, he worked with a variety of drivers, helping the team win two more championships with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007, he was appointed chief engineer; in 2012, he was appointed sporting director. He has been with the team from its Lotus days until its return to Renault ownership and rebranding as Alpine, and he continues to serve in that capacity.

Additionally, Pat Fry left Alpine to work as the chief technical officer for Williams.

The change in leadership comes after Philippe Krief replaced Laurent Rossi as the F1 team’s CEO last week. These changes follow a recent dramatic management shake-up at Alpine, which was spearheaded by Luca de Meo, the general manager of Renault and saw former CEO Laurent Rossi of Szafnauer go into special projects.

Szafnauer who had recently left his position as team principal at Aston Martin, joined Alpine in February of last year.

Before overseeing the changeover to Lawrence Stroll’s ownership and the accompanying renaming of the team as Aston Martin, he had been with the Silverstone team since 2009 working with the outfit during its Force India and Racing Point eras.

Szafnauer represented Alpine at the F1 Commission meeting on Friday in Spa in spite of his impending resignation.

Only last week in Hungary did the American declare his confidence in De Meo, reiterating the Renault CEO’s promise to grant him 100 races to turn the squad to winning ways.

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