Ousted F1 team boss sparks speculation after being spotted in Honda hospitality

Michelle Foster
Otmar Szafnauer and Laurent Rossi of Alpine walk together. Belgium 2022.

Both Otmar Szafnauer and Laurent Rossi were sacked by Alpine in 2023.

Former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer has sparked speculation about his future after being spotted in Honda’s hospitality during the St. Petersburg IndyCar weekend.

Ousted by Alpine on the eve of Formula 1’s summer break last season, Szafnauer has been linked to a return to the paddock with several teams, the latest being Andretti Cadillac.

Otmar Szafnauer and the curious case of the IndyCar visit

Speaking to Motor Sport Magazine, Szafnauer said: “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.

“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.”

However, those talks were dashed when Formula 1 rejected Andretti’s bid to become the sport’s 11th team.

Without a job since his Alpine exit, social media erupted with intrigue when the 59-year-old was seen sitting down for a meal in the Honda hospitality during last weekend’s IndyCar event in St. Petersburg.

From “new Andretti team boss” to the man to “command the transition from Indycar to NASCAR”, fans even asked if Szafnauer could be in the hunt to “buy or start an IndyCar team”.

Alas pouring some cold water on the speculation, it should be noted that he used to work for Honda in the 2000s and could’ve just been catching up with old friends.

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Szafnauer was sacked by Alpine last July having been in the team principal job for just 18 months, but he and long-serving sporting director Alan Permane left abruptly after disagreeing with the Renault board about how realistic the team’s short-term goals were.

He has since let rip at his former team, declaring Alpine’s higher-ups “don’t understand” what it takes to compete in Formula 1.

“I told Alpine I was making progress but their response was always ‘we don’t have time for this.’,” he added.

“That was the cause of our disagreement and I was given less than 10 days warning of their decision that led to my departure at the Belgian GP.”

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