Aston Martin F1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer has departed his role in the British squad with immediate effect after nearly 12 years with the team.
In a press release, the team said:
“Otmar Szafnauer has left the Company and his role at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team will be managed within the leadership team until a replacement is appointed.”
“We would like to thank him for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges.”
“Fortunately, we are led and managed by a strong group of individuals, and we are comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure.”
“The focus of the team is currently on preparing the most competitive car possible for the start of the 2022 season.”
Szafnauer joined the squad back in 2009 when it was still Force India. As team principal, he played an integral part in helping the team improve its performance.
Under Szafnauer’s leadership, Force India gained a reputation for punching above its weight over the next decade. The team often outperformed teams with budgets far higher than its own.
The team were most successful between 2015 and 2017, when they finished in P5 and P4 in the constructor’s championship on successive occasions. Szafnauer played an instrumental role in the team’s success by signing a long-term agreement with Mercedes to use their power units.
Furthermore, Otmar Szafnauer, along with Sergio Perez, has been credited with saving the team along with the jobs of nearly 400 employees during the financial crisis in 2018, when the team’s former owner Vijay Mallya ran out of funding for the team.
Otmar Szafnauer linked with possible move to Alpine
Outgoing Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has been rumored to be taking over racing operations rival team Alpine as part of the French outfit’s extensive restructuring.
The Romanian has, however, previously refused to comment on the rumors. Speaking at the FIA press conference ahead of the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, Szafnauer said:
“These are rumors that we are not going to comment on.”
Meanwhile, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi also refused to comment on rumors suggesting Szafnauer’s arrival at Enstone. Speaking to media in Brazil, Rossi said:
“I’m basically going left and right, up and down, looking at everything.”
“That’s why I said it will take me a full season probably to have a better view – never complete, but a better view of the situation and where we can improve, evolve, correct things to pretend at being one of the best teams.”
The team’s long-time team principal Cyril Abiteboul departed at the end of the 2020 season. Subsequently, the Enstone team has gone through extensive restructuring as part of Rossi’s efforts to improve efficiency and communication.
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The effort saw MotoGP veteran Davide Brivio being brought on board at the start of the year, from Suzuki, as Alpine’s racing director. Meanwhile, Marcin Budkowski was made the executive director of the team.