Otmar Szafnauer could return to the F1 paddock, but it all depends whether Andretti will ever find a way onto the grid after being initially rejected.
Last season Alpine shocked the Formula 1 paddock when the team announced on the eve of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that it would be Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane last outing with the Enstone team.
Faced with lacklustre results as their rival McLaren surged ahead with their mid-season gains, Alpine dropped Szafnauer and put Bruno Famin in charge.
Otmar Szafnauer has already held talks with Michael Andretti
Szafnauer, feeling the team had pulled the trigger too early, gave Sky Deutschland the quote of the year: “I always say, you can’t get nine women pregnant and hope you have a baby in a month.”
Rival team boss Christian Horner told the media including PlanetF1.com that he believed it would be only a matter of time before the 59-year-old was back in the paddock, saying: “It won’t be the last that you’ll see of him in the pit lane I’ve no doubt about that.”
That return, according to Motor Sport Magazine, is in the pipeline.
“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 told the publication.
“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.”
He added: “I’d like to continue [in F1] but it’s got to be in a position where my experience, my skill sets, can be put to good use. I reckon I have another five to seven years in me.
“Maybe I have too high an opinion of myself… but I believe I still hold the skill sets to enable me to put a good team together to be competitive in F1. So that’s what I want to do.
“Right now, I have the desire, but I am biding my time while I cannot compete due to the provisions of my gardening leave. Pretty soon,  hopefully, I can get back into the sport. Problem is, I am a little bit impatient.”
Andretti, though, have been dealt a huge blow in their bid to become the sport’s 11th team having being rejected entry by F1 onto the 2026 grid. The door has been left open for an entry in 2028.
Prior to this news, Szafnauer applauded Andretti’s approach.
“Something I do know, from the early days at BAR, is that you cannot start from scratch and hire 900 people and expect to get that done in a year,” he said.
“There aren’t going to be enough good people whose contracts are expiring. It’s just not possible.”