Ralf sees uncertain Aston Martin future for Szafnauer

Henry Valantine
Otmar Szafnauer. Aston Martin team principal.

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer wears a mask as he walks through the paddock.

Ralf Schumacher says he cannot see Otmar Szafnauer and Martin Whitmarsh working well together at Aston Martin – which could lead to the team principal’s departure.

The arrival of former McLaren boss Whitmarsh was announced in September and he has taken on the reins of Aston’s entire racing operation, which includes the Formula 1 team, with Szafnauer having confirmed he will report directly to Whitmarsh in the future.

Team owner Lawrence Stroll has launched a large-scale recruitment drive as Aston Martin look to upgrade their facilities and increase their possibility of winning, and Whitmarsh’s arrival has been a part of that movement.

“When Lawrence Stroll bought the team, he brought in a new movement,” said Schumacher, now a Sky pundit in Germany, quoted by Sport1.

“I always said you can’t turn a cow into a tiger overnight. There is simply too much unrest. And the duo of Martin Whitmarsh and Otmar Szafnauer would not work at all from my point of view.”

Sebastian Vettel was another marquee signing for Aston Martin when he arrived this season and Schumacher insisted the team’s under-performance in 2021 has not diminished the driver’s skills, but rather reflects badly on the team itself.

Aston Martin needed such a top-class driver,” Schumacher added.

“Meanwhile, Sebastian is also the better and more consistent driver. The team is simply not performing as it should. People have been brought in by force and this turmoil is perhaps no longer the right environment for Szafnauer.”

Martin Whitmarsh returns to the F1 paddock with Aston Martin. USA October 2021.
Aston Martin group CEO Martin Whitmarsh returns to the F1 paddock. Austin October 2021.

Szafnauer has recently been linked with a move to Alpine as their rivals are reportedly looking to bring in the Aston Martin team boss as part of an internal restructure by CEO Laurent Rossi, to try and improve their fortunes in the future.

In the immediate aftermath of the story coming out, Szafnauer criticised the “spiral of misinformation” the media speculation had brought and although he said he currently has no intention of going to Alpine, he stopped short of outright denying the move would happen.

“It’s always humbling and flattering to say if Alpine are reorganising – I think Laurent Rossi said that in Mexico – for the media to speculate I could be wanted there,” Szafnauer told reporters in Brazil. “It’s always nice to be wanted.

“I’ve been at the team for 12 years, I have no intention of leaving – I love this team. Most of the senior managers, especially through Racing Point, the senior leadership team, was recruited and put there by myself and I have no intention of leaving them.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Uncertain Aston Martin future for Szafnauer

Ralf Schumacher believes that Otmar Szafnauer's Aston Martin future is uncertain.