Alpine boss rejects Otmar Szafnauer sack claim and provides replacement update

Sam Cooper

Bruno Famin was in a defensive mood as he explained the reasons why senior figures Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane lost their jobs.

Shortly after the Belgian free practice session, rumours were confirmed that Szafnauer was the latest name out of the Alpine door with the team principal’s time coming to an end after the race in Spa.

Szafnauer’s sacking comes just a few weeks after former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi was moved to ‘special projects’ and Famin installed as the new man in charge.

Famin, who will also take on the role of interim team principal, defended Alpine’s decision to make the move, suggesting it was “mutual” and part of the acceleration of their long-term plan.

“We decided together with Alan and Otmar to split our ways. It’s a mutual agreement first,” Famin told media including when asked why Alpine had chosen to sack their staff members.

“We’ve been discussing for a while about what we needed to do for the timeline, for the evolution we required in our F1 team. At one stage, you realise that we are not on the same paths on this then we decide to split ways.”

Shortly before the press conference, Alpine’s suspicion that their power unit was down compared to their rivals was confirmed by the FIA but even with that caveat, Famin believed their 47 points after 12 races was not good enough.

“The engine isn’t ‘so down’ as you said,” Famin replied to a reporter. “It’s not the best engine for sure. We made huge steps between ’21 on ’22 but still not the best engine.

“I don’t think the powertrain is so down that we cannot improve the package. The goal is really to improve our package.

“This season so far does not match our expectations clearly. We were P4 last year.

“We know that the top three is very strong but we were aiming to keep that fourth place. We are not where we wanted and we will work hard to extract the best possible performance of our car.” recommends

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Famin revealed it was a decision made by “the top management” and one that was a week in the making.

“For a reshuffle of the team, it’s a decision of the top management of course. It’s not something which has been decided from one day to another. We have been talking for a week.

“It’s not because I was appointed two weeks ago as vice president of motorsport that I started working two weeks ago, it’s already quite a long story.”

As for Szafnauer’s replacement, Famin said the team had not even been discussing potential candidates.

“We are not at that stage,” he said. “I’m going to, with all my direct reports, asses what the situation is. Think about what are the priorities set in stone to consolidate and we will define if we need a new structure or not and when that will be done.”