mobile app bar

Otmar Szafnauer Will Not Take the Blame For Alpine’s Atrocious F1 Mess, Gives His Successor a Stiff Reality Check Instead

Aishwary Gaonkar

Otmar Szafnauer Will Not Take the Blame For Alpine's Atrocious F1 Mess, Gives His Successor a Stiff Reality Check Instead

Alpine’s 2024 performance has been atrocious, to say the least. From being the sixth-fastest team last year, the French team have regressed badly and are yet to score points. Alpine’s A524 is an aerodynamically inefficient car and is reportedly overweight as well. The new team boss, Bruno Famin, claimed that their current car is a “result of the previous management”. Now, Famin’s predecessor, Otmar Szafnauer, has refused to take the blame while justifying that he got the pink slip before work began on the 2024 challenger.

According to The Race, Szafnauer explained, “Alan [Permane] and I left in July and after we left, they started on next year’s car. And Pat [Fry] had resigned by then as well. So, to the uninformed, you can say all these problems were caused by those guys, but I don’t think so.”

Alpine made some tough and controversial calls with its structure in mid-2023. The team’s CEO, Laurent Rossi, was axed from his post and moved to another post. Later, the top management also decided to show the exit door to Szafnauer and long-time sporting director Alan Permane.

Many experts criticized the way the Enstone-based team handled these exits as it may have affected their progression for last season and for 2024 as well. Naturally, when any team sees such key personnel leave, a transition period can be tricky to manage.

Famin experienced the same but was keen to help the team reach a better place. Unfortunately, Alpine‘s 2024 performance with its arguably slowest car is far from what Famin would have aimed for.

Szafnauer explained how the team management along with the technical heads like Permane and Pat Fry have to balance the development of the current and next season’s cars. The Romanian pointed out that Alpine may have fumbled on that aspect due to the transition.

Is Alpine’s 2024 mess going to affect them further?

Alpine were aiming to start being on the podium consistently as per their 100-race plan that has had various starting points since its Renault days. Eventually, their goal was to compete for race wins and try to challenge for the championship, given they are a works manufacturer team.

However, they are stuck in a vicious loop of mediocrity. Back in 2022, they finished P4 in the Constructors’ standings. Last year, they slipped down to sixth, and in 2024, it doesn’t seem like they will even maintain that.

The Enstone outfit did bring upgrades at the Chinese GP for Esteban Ocon’s car. However, he could only finish on the fringes of the top 10, in P11. Pierre Gasly will get the same upgrade package at the Miami GP.

However, both Ocon and Gasly would be wary of the long-term prospects for Alpine. Given both French drivers are Grand Prix winners, they would hope to fight in a rising midfield side rather than an outfit that is currently a backmarker.

Both of them have their contracts expiring at the end of this season and have started to explore their options away from the French team. So, for Alpine, if they cannot improve their performance this season, they run a risk of losing either Gasly or Ocon, if not both.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar


Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

Read more from Aishwary Gaonkar

Share this article