Alpine give update on Otmar Szafnauer replacement as axed boss lines up new role

864     0
Otmar Szafnauer leaves Alpine after 18 months as team principal (Image: Getty Images)
Otmar Szafnauer leaves Alpine after 18 months as team principal (Image: Getty Images)

Alpine are in "no hurry" to appoint a new team principal after Otmar Szafnauer was axed.

The Enstone squad announced during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that it would be Szafnauer's last in charge. Also heading out the door was sporting director Alan Permane, who had been with the team for 34 years.

Meanwhile, chief technical officer Pat Fry is also leaving to join Williams. All three have now left their respective roles, leaving gaping holes in the Alpine leadership.

Vice president of Alpine's motorsport division Bruno Famin will take on the role on an interim basis. He will juggle that responsibility with his work at the team's engine facility in Viry, France, while Matt Harman will look after the technical staff at Enstone.

Academy director Julian Rouse has stepped up to become interim sporting director, reporting to Famin. And there is also a new CEO at the top of the food chain, Philippe Krief, who was given that role just a week earlier to replace the ouster Laurent Rossi.

Sebastian Vettel warns of looming F1 ban and is "very worried about the future" eideziqkeiqhhinvSebastian Vettel warns of looming F1 ban and is "very worried about the future"

Alpine could do with some stability after so many changes, but a new team principal is unlikely to be appointed any time soon. "There is no timeline, because I think we need to assess really what is the situation," said Famin.

"We will not wait for the full assessments for moving things, because we need to improve from one race to another, step by step. What I would like to introduce is constant improvement in the team. Matt Harman is doing a very good job. I fully trust Matt, he's managing the full technical team, then there is no hurry in replacing anybody on the technical side.

Alpine give update on Otmar Szafnauer replacement as axed boss lines up new roleBruno Famin takes interim charge until a permanent Alpine team principal is appointed (Getty Images)

"On the sporting side, I fully trust as well Julian Rouse. I think he has very good ideas. I'm going to share with the staff, that's why I cannot comment on it now here. As far as the team principal function is concerned, for the time being I'm going to do it, I will think about it, and I will decide. But there is no hurry, we can manage it."

In the meantime, he will use these days before the mandated summer shutdown to explain to staff what the plan is from here. Famin added: "Job number one is to talk to the staff, to all the people on the staff, to share what is going on, to explain what is going on, and to make sure that everybody is on board.

"We need all the energies, we need everybody onboard. Of course, for all the guys, it's a bit difficult to get all the information. I'm going to Enstone to share this information, the explanation, to answer questions, with all the staff in Enstone."

The first name linked with the team principal vacancy is that of Mattia Binotto. The former Ferrari chief has been away from the F1 world on gardening leave since resigning at the end of last season, but was recently spotted in the paddock at the British Grand Prix.

Martin Brundle said he has "heard the same rumour" and added that he "wouldn't be surprised" if Alpine were to turn to Binotto to lead them into the future. But there remains some doubt over whether the Italian would be interested in the role.

Meanwhile, Szafnauer hinted in an interview with Sky Germany during the Belgian GP weekend that his next move might already be lined up. He didn't specify which organisation he was referring to, but declared he will have the authority to make the changes that he was told he couldn't during his Alpine tenure.

Daniel Moxon

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus