Former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer spotted at IndyCar season opener

Former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer spotted at IndyCar season opener

Former Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has raised speculation regarding his future after he was spotted in Honda’s hospitality during the IndyCar season opener at St. Petersburg.

This comes as Otmar Szafnauer was fired by Alpine on the heels of the F1 summer break last season and now several teams including Andretti Cadillac have been linked to his return to the paddock.

However, when Andretti’s attempt to join the Formula 1 grid as its eleventh team was turned down, these discussions came to an abrupt end.

The Romanian-American hasn’t had a job since exiting Alpine and when he was spotted dining in the Honda hospitality during last weekend’s IndyCar race in St. Petersburg, social media lit up with curiosity.

“I have had some discussions with Michael Andretti – he’d called me even before I went to Alpine and I told him I’d love to help him,” Szafnauer said to Motor Sport Magazine.

“They have to get the F1 entry first, because without an entry how can I help him? If they are accepted then I will be able to discuss getting involved, getting them started, getting them moving.”

Fans even inquired as to whether Szafnauer would be interested in buying or starting an IndyCar team, shifting from new Andretti team boss to the man who would command the transition from Indycar to NASCAR.

Unfortunately, to dampen the speculation, it should be mentioned that he was employed by Honda in the 2000s and may have simply been hanging out with old acquaintances.

Alpine fired Szafnauer in July of last year after only 18 months of serving as the team principal. However, he and longtime sporting director Alan Permane quit unexpectedly simply because they couldn’t agree with the Renault board over the team’s short-term goals.

Since then, he has vented his frustrations at his previous team, saying that Alpine’s executives lack an understanding of what it takes to be a Formula 1 contender.

“I told Alpine I was making progress but their response was always ‘we don’t have time for this.’,” he added. “That was the cause of our disagreement and I was given less than 10 days warning of their decision that led to my departure at the Belgian GP.”

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