Otmar Szafnauer leaves Alpine F1 team in senior management overhaul

SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium — Alpine has confirmed team principal Otmar Szafnauer and other senior personnel will leave the team after this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Szafnauer’s departure follows news last week that Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi had also left his role to work on special projects in the wider Renault Group.

Sporting director Alan Permane, who has been at the team for 34 years, will also leave Alpine, while chief technical officer Pat Fry has left ahead of a switch to Williams on November 1.

Fry’s news coincides with the announcement of the departures, but he had already been in talks with Williams in April this year.

Szafnauer was appointed as team principal in 2022 after leaving Aston Martin and as recently as last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix talked about his desire to remain at the team.

Bruno Famin, who was appointed VP of Alpine Motorsports two weeks ago, will take over as interim team principal.

“I think with Otmar and with Alan it’s the same, they’re great people, and we thank them for all we brought to the team, for a very long time,” Famin said at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday. “For Alan, 34 years in Enstone, and more recently with Otmar he achieved the fourth place in the championship last year which is a good achievement.

“But we were not on the same timeline to recover the level or to reach the level of performance we are aiming for. Mutually we agreed to split our ways, and that’s it.”

Alpine is two thirds of the way through a 100-race plan to return to the front of the grid, but this year has slipped from its fourth-place finishing position in 2022 to sixth in the current constructors’ standings.

Szafnauer said he believed the 100-race plan was realistic but the Renault board expected results in a shorter period of time.

“The thing that really changed is I had a timeline in mind for changing the team, making it better — that timeline, I thought it was realistic, because I know what it takes. I’ve done it before. I think some of the senior management at Renault had a shorter timeline in mind.

“I’ve always said Mercedes took five years from buying a winning team. Red Bull took five years from buying Jag, which was a pretty solid mid-grid team. It takes time. That’s what it takes.”

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