Otmar Szafnauer’s departure was a little bit unexpected, as he has been with the Aston Martin team since its Force India days.
It was a surprise to some that he did not only leave, but shortly after his departure during the winter time he was announced as the new principal of Alpine, a team that has been seeing a little bit of a shuffle when it comes to its managerial structure over the past few years.
Szafnauer’s departure was announced in January, and in mid-February we received the confirmation he will begin his work with Alpine, even though in November, when the rumours first emerged about him leaving he repeatedly said he had no intention of leaving the team based in Silverstone.
Szafnauer played a big role when it came to restructuring the team and its transition from Force India to Racing Point and then into Aston Martin in 2021. After the appointment of Martin Whitmarsh (former McLaren F1 boss) as Aston’s new group CEO, questions arouse regarding Szafnauer’s position.
In an interview with selected mediahe was asked what changed between the time he said he had no intention of leaving to becoming the new principal of Alpine.
As he said: "At that point, there was no intention of leaving. But as time moved on and things changed at Aston, I thought it was better for all parties that I looked elsewhere.”
He also touched on how he felt at Alpine during the pre-season testing in Bahrain. To that he responded: "I'm really enjoying it. This is my sixth day. I spent a few days at the factory, I tried to walk around and meet as many people as I can really in the first few days.
"I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of faces that I knew there from my past, be it from Honda or British American Racing, even Force India. I know how the people are.
"[There's] great potential, like-minded people, pulling in the same direction and wanting to do well. They've got a great history there. They've won before, good infrastructure, so I really look forward to working with them all."