Christian Horner criticises Alpine for lack of ‘respect’ after senior staff departure

Sam Cooper
Otmar Szafnauer on the grid with Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam. Australia April 2023

Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer on the grid with Alan Permane and Ciaron Pilbeam. Australia April 2023

Christian Horner believes Alan Permane deserved more respect after spending 34 years working for the Enstone outfit before being let go this week.

Permane has been a constant in the F1 paddock for more than three decades having first joined the sport in 1989 as a test electronics engineer for Benetton.

The engineer would survive through numerous ownership and name changes before his time was finally called by the Alpine bosses last week along with team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

Christian Horner believes ‘respect’ should be shown to F1’s longest servants

Horner, who himself has been in the sport for 18 years, said respect should be shown to someone who has stuck with the Enstone team through thick and thin.

“I don’t really want to be drawn into commenting about other teams,” he told media including after the race at Spa. “They obviously have their own decisions and their own reasons for making their changes.

“I think the only one I would highlight, Otmar is a good guy, but I think whilst I’ve never worked with Alan Permane or Bat as he is more commonly known up and down the pitlane, I think sometimes there has to be respect shown for somebody who has put in 34 years of hard graft.

“[He has] been involved in World Championships with Michael Schumacher, with Fernando Alonso, and also been a steady hand during periods of a team going virtually into administration, out of administration into different ownership and so on.

“He’s very much been a constant there during that period, I think that owes respect and recognition. I’m sure he’s a guy, as well as with Otmar, that find themselves [work]. Absolutely won’t be the last time you see them in the pit lane. No doubt about that.” recommends

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Progress timeline the cause behind Alpine reshuffle

While Permane has not spoken publicly since his departure, the man he followed out of the exit door has.

Szafnauer revealed that the split was indeed mutual and ultimately came down to a disagreement as to how quickly certain targets could be met.

“It was definitely mutual,” the former Racing Point boss said. “I laid out the timelines as to how long it takes in F1 to effect change.

“You know, it’s not a football team — it’s only two [drivers] and 998 technicians, engineers and aerodynamicists, and to change a culture takes time. The timeline wasn’t accepted by the bosses of Renault — they wanted it quicker and that’s what we disagreed upon. So, yeah, mutual.”

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