In a short statement on social media, Aston Martin have confirmed Otmar Szafnauer, team principal and CEO, is leaving the team ahead of the start of the 2022 F1 season, with immediate effect.
“Otmar Szafnauer has left the Company and his role at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team will be managed within the leadership team until a replacement is appointed.”
Around September of 2021, there were rumours about a possible move from Szafnauer to rival team Alpine, which at the time he denied.
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His next move is still to be announced, and neither Alpine nor him have pronounced anything on the subject yet.
Aston Martin thanked Otmar for his services during his time at the team. He is believed to have been one of the key players in saving the team when it went into administration in 2018, and also played a significant role to bring Sebastian Vettel into the team in 2021.
“We would like to thank him for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges.”
As for who will lead the team now, Aston Martin have stated that they have “a strong group of individuals” who will take charge before an appointment is made:
“Fortunately, we are led and managed by a strong group of individuals, and we are comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure.
“The focus of the team is currently on preparing the most competitive car possible for the start of the 2022 season.”
Another significant development at Aston Martin is the departure of the BWT sponsorship. The Austrian company had an iconic relationship with the team now called Aston Martin. The partnership produced, between 2017 and 2020, four fully pink car liveries, which marked especially Racing Point’s time in Formula 1.
As of today, the water company is no longer listed as a team partner for the Silverstone squad. That could mean a more striking livery for the team in 2022, being able to get rid of a pink stripe on the side of the car. The departure of BWT from its roster of sponsorships is all-but-confirmed from the team.