“I didn’t have the influence I thought I should have”- Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer opens about his Aston Martin departure

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Published 02/04/2022

Otmar Szafnauer admits that his decreased influence in Aston Martin forced him to jump ship to Alpine over the winter break. 

Szafnauer was with the Silverstone outfit for a long time before the Aston Martin name returned to F1. He’s been team boss there when they were known as Force India, followed by Racing Point.

A lot however, changed after Lawrence Stroll bought the team in 2018. He made plenty of changes, but had Szafnauer has his team boss. In 2021, the name Racing Point changed to Aston Martin, marking the return of the iconic constructor to F1.

After Martin Whitmarsh became CEO of Aston Martin performance technologies, Szafnauer said that his role became increasingly diminished. He described how the duo of Whitmarsh and Stroll overruled several decisions made by others in the team.

“Once it became clear the management structure was going to be as such, I didn’t have the influence I thought I should have with Martin coming in,” said Szafnauer to GP fans.

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Without guaranteed influence, Szafnauer was forced to leave Aston Martin for Alpine

A team principal is generally in charge of the team’s day-to-day runnings. This involves them overseeing technical matters, while also doing media and PR duties.

When Szafnauer’s role got diminished, he revealed he had no choice but to say goodbye to the Silverstone team.

“They made it very clear to me the responsibilities I used to have before were never given back,” he continued. “Once I learned that then it was really time to look elsewhere.”

“It was at the last race I was told ‘you used to be able to run the team but you’re not running it anymore. I had a contract, I had no reason to leave. Had the responsibilities not been taken away from me, I would have stayed.”

In the end, the 57-year old joined French team Alpine. They too were going through a change in management structure, and having a team principal of his pedigree was crucial.

“All my discussions with the seniors at Alpine said the reason they wanted me to come was because of all my experience in Formula 1,” he revealed. “And to apply that to Alpine and help us in the aim to win races.”

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About the author
Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and aims to work in the sports industry for the rest of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the great Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

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