Otmar Szafnauer is adamant Alpine will be able to “outdo” Aston Martin during the time that Fernando Alonso will be driving for them.
Fernando Alonso announced the Monday after the 2022 Hungarian Grad Prix, that he will be jumping ship to Aston Martin next season.
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer revealed later on that Alonso did not inform him of the decision prior to Aston Martin’s press release announcing the Spaniard as their replacement for retiring four-time Formula 1 Champion Sebastian Vettel in 2023.
Szafnauer, formerly Aston Martin’s boss, is confident that Alpine is the better team at the moment and will be for the foreseen future; maybe just his way of telling Alonso he made the wrong decision?
“I know both teams well,” he said. “I think I know [them], because I spent 12 years at the other team, better than I know all the individuals here just yet.
“And I know since I’ve left in December, they’ve hired some more people, some of which I was a part of recruiting, including Dan Fallows, and Eric Blandin from Mercedes. So I know what they’re trying to do.
“And I know that the people that are there, and I know this team here, and both teams have great potential,” Szafnauer admitted.
“But as we sit here today, this team is performing at a much higher level,” he insisted. “It’s hard to predict the future, but in the near future, for sure this team will continue to perform at that level, if not better.”
Alpine have their own growth plan as well
Despite Aston Martin’s ambitious plan and their hiring spree, Alpine also seem to be having their own staff-growing plan as well as facility development – their boss revealed.
“We have an internal programme called Mountain Climber, and that’s to hire an additional 75 people in strategic areas that will help improve the capabilities of this team,” he said.
“And along with the 75 people, there’s also tools that we are improving now, some simulation tools, a new simulator, expanded capacity in manufacturing, some upgrades to our wind tunnel, all with the focus on being able to win in 100 races,” he added.
“So those things are still happening here. And they’re happening fast. We’re already at a level of 850 people here. So I am confident that we can outdo the team that Fernando is going to, in the time period that he will be there,” Szafnauer concluded.
Since Alonso decision to leave, Alpine have announced Oscar Piastri as his replacement, the latter denying he has agreed a drive with the Enstone based squad.