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Famin: Alpine weren't on the same line with Szafnauer

Famin: Alpine weren’t on the same line with Szafnauer

Famin: Alpine weren't on the same line with Szafnauer

Bruno Famin, Alpine’s Vice President and interim Team Principal of their Formula 1 team claimed they let Otmar Szafnauer go because they didn’t see eye to eye on how to progress the team.

The French team announced on Friday, that Otmar Szafnauer would be leaving his role as Team Principal before completing his second full season with the team, which followed major change at the top of the Renault-owned squad when Laurent Rossi was removed from his role as CEO.

The team also sent their long-serving employee Alan Permane, who last held the Sporting Director role, packing after 34 years of working at Enstone. That also coincided with Alpine’s tech boss Pat Fry jumping ship to Williams.

With Alpine yet to announce replacements, their recently appointed VP of motorsport Bruni Famin was given the role of Interim Team Principal and was facing the media over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Asked about the latest changes, Famin said: “At Alpine we have a fascinating project, Alpine as a brand. Two weeks we launched phase two of that project with a very ambitious plan for new road cars, for expansion and so on.

“What is really super-interesting for all of us is that project is based on motorsport, motorsport programmes. The key one, of course, is Formula One, not only but that’s it. It’s really a great challenge to be part of this project. So, after the phase two of the brand, we are going to the phase two of the Formula 1 project. We have ambition as well, and we have decided to make some changes in order to go faster in reaching the level of performance we are aiming for,” he explained.

It was a mutual agreement to part ways

Asked why the team let Szafnauer go; Famin said: “I think with Otmar and with Alan – it’s the same with Alan Permane, it’s the same that means they are great people, we really thank them for all what they brought to the team, for a very long time for Alan, 34 years in Enstone. More recently with Otmar but he secured the fourth place on the Championship last year which was a good achievement.

“But we were not on the same line on how… on the timeline to recover the level… or to reach the level of performance we are aiming for. Mutually we agreed to split our ways, and that’s it,” he revealed.

Famin was then quizzed about Alpine’s plan to replace Szafnauer, he said: “I’ve just been appointed two weeks ago as a vice president, motorsport at Alpine. Of course, we have been discussing that topic with the top management for weeks and now I will really assess with the whole teams, what is the real situation and what will be the plan then.

“I will take the necessary time to do this assessment and we will decide later on,” the Alpine VP concluded.

Szafnauer’s stint at Alpine has been far from ideal, as while he helped secure he team fourth in the 2022 F1 Constructors’ Championship, under his watch, the team managed to lose the services of Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri in a matter of days.

The Piastri matter developed into a high-profile legal battle with McLaren, which Alpine ultimately lost, as it seems they were caught napping in the whole fiasco.

The 2023 season has been a disastrous one for Alpine, as their A523 seems to be off the pace, and unreliable, while team operations have been far from smooth, with Esteban Ocon’s multiple penalties in Bahrain earlier this year summing up the situation.