Otmar Szafnauer takes another shot at Alpine after disastrous Bahrain GP start

Michelle Foster
Pierre Gasly chasing a Stake Sauber in Bahrain

Alpine had a wretched Bahrain GP weekend.

Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s former team principal, is not surprised by their woeful showing in Bahrain as he says the higher-ups have been making “not-so-good decisions”.

Last season Alpine sacked Szafnauer not even 40 races into the much-lauded 100-race plan, the former Aston Martin man given his marching orders along with stalwart Alan Permane.

Otmar Szafnauer blames Alpine’s lack of ‘psychological safety’

They exited stage left just one month after Laurent Rossi was axed as Alpine CEO two and a half years after he was appointed to the role.

Szafnauer’s ousting shocked the paddock with Bruno Famin installed as the interim team boss before making that permanent ahead of this year’s championship.

However, the new management structure has done little to bolster Alpine’s on-track performances.

The team went into the season-opening race in Bahrain well aware of the A524’s problems, which reportedly include being 11 kilograms overweight.

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly qualified on the very last row of the grid and could only recover to 17th and 18th. The only drivers they beat were Valtteri Bottas, who had a 52s pit stop, and Logan Sargeant who needed a new steering wheel.

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Szafnauer blames the team’s hiring and firing policy, saying it has not created “psychological safety” within the team.

“The stopwatch doesn’t lie and it didn’t look very competitive,” he told Viaplay of his former team’s performance in Bahrain.

“I do understand that. People at the highest level making not-so-good decisions, firing people and not creating psychological safety in a team, that’s a result that happens thereafter.

“But I get it, it’s a hard game, Formula 1. You have to do a lot of things right and if you get some of them wrong, it bites you.”

Meanwhile, former F1 driver Timo Glock called it a “mess” that “started last year when many key figures in the team were thrown out – including Otmar Szafnauer”.

“Exchanging personnel in the development of the new car brings unrest in the team and we are now seeing the consequences,” he told Sky Deutschland. “A disastrous performance in the test and now they are on the last row of the grid.”

Famin, however, insists Alpine are working “together” to resolve the car’s issues and he hopes for a better showing come Saudi Arabia.

“We knew the start of the season was going to be difficult and that has been the case in Bahrain,” he said.

“That said, we are doing everything we can with what we have right now and we will keep finding improvements and making progress each time we are on track.

“Credit to the team and the drivers for their efforts here in Bahrain over the last couple of weeks. The togetherness of the team will shine through.

“Next week we go to Jeddah, a completely different track to Bahrain, which brings a new opportunity to keep learning and progressing our A524 package. The hard work will continue.”

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