Szafnauer linked with move to Alpine – report

Jon Wilde
Laurent Rossi and Otmar Szafnauer at a Belgian GP press conference. Spa-Francorchamps August 2021.

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi and Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer sit together at a Belgian Grand Prix press conference. Spa-Francorchamps August 2021.

Alpine’s next managerial reshuffle could culminate with the arrival of Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer, according to a report.

Laurent Rossi, the Alpine CEO, revealed recently he plans to undertake an assessment of his team’s leadership structure to try and improve their performance on-track.

Instead of having a sole team principal, as was the case last year with Cyril Abiteboul when they were still known as Renault, Alpine have three visible bosses – executive director Marcin Budkowski and racing director Davide Brivio, both reporting to Rossi.

But although Esteban Ocon won the Hungarian Grand Prix for them in July, Alpine are having a largely underwhelming season and AlphaTauri drew level with them on 106 points at the Mexican Grand Prix in the chase for fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship.

French magazine Auto Hebdo report: “Szafnauer could take over the management of the French-British team as part of the vast restructuring plan being worked on by Laurent Rossi.

“Amongst the restructuring projects is the recruitment of Otmar Szafnauer, who is reportedly under pressure at Aston Martin.”

Alpine and Aston Martin are experiencing not dissimilar campaigns in that they have under-achieved compared to 2020, especially in relation to McLaren and Ferrari.

Both teams went into the climax of last season with a chance of pipping McLaren for third place in the championship, but they are way off that position this time with Ferrari having stepped up from last year’s P6.

Aston Martin, whose best result this term so far is Sebastian Vettel’s second place in Azerbaijan – he was disqualified from the same placing in Hungary as insufficient of a fuel sample could be taken from his car – are isolated in seventh place with 68 points.

Lawrence Stroll’s Silverstone-based squad have been carrying out an ambitious recruitment process of their own this year in which the highest-profile arrival has been that of former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh as Group CEO of the Performance Technologies division – Szafnauer admitting he was coming in as his boss.


Rossi also discussed in Friday’s constructors’ press conference at the Mexican Grand Prix his assessment of the Alpine managerial set-up.

“I’m basically going left and right, up and down, looking at everything,” said Rossi, who joined Alpine in January.

“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.”


Alpine have AlphaTauri breathing down their necks

Alpine and AlphaTauri are now level on points in the Constructors' Championship.