Alpine’s Formula 1 team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, is departing from the Enstone outfit after a tenure of just 18 months. The decision has been reached through “mutual agreement,” and Szafnauer will step down after the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix. Until then, he will continue his regular duties for the team before parting ways ahead of the summer break.
The Alpine team expressed gratitude for Szafnauer’s dedicated work during the past 18 months and his instrumental role in achieving fourth place in the 2022 constructors’ championship. They extended their best wishes for his future endeavors.
To fill the void left by Szafnauer, Bruno Famin will assume the interim role of Team Principal. Famin was appointed earlier this month as the VP of Alpine Motorsport, a newly created position. Before this, he served as the head of the Renault operation in Viry-Chatillon and had prior experience at Peugeot and the FIA.
Meanwhile, Alan Permane’s journey with the team dates back to 1989 when he joined the then-Benetton team as an electronics engineer. Over the years, he progressed through various roles, becoming a junior race engineer, full race engineer, chief engineer, and eventually sporting director. Permane played a key part in the team’s golden era with Michael Schumacher, contributing to two world championships in 1994 and 1995. He continued to excel as the team achieved further success with Fernando Alonso, clinching championships in 2005 and 2006.
These changes come in the aftermath of a significant management shake-up across the Alpine company, initiated by Luca de Meo, the overall boss of Renault. As a part of this restructuring, CEO Laurent Rossi, Szafnauer’s former superior, has been moved to special projects.
Otmar Szafnauer, a 58-year-old motorsport veteran, joined Alpine in February the previous year, shortly after leaving the role of team principal at Aston Martin. He had a long history with the Silverstone team, dating back to 2009 during its Force India and Racing Point eras. Szafnauer was instrumental in the transition of the team under Lawrence Stroll’s ownership, leading to its rebranding as Aston Martin.
Despite his impending departure, Szafnauer represented Alpine in a recent meeting of the F1 Commission at Spa, Hungary. Just a week earlier, he expressed his confidence in Luca de Meo’s vision, stating that De Meo had given him 100 races to achieve the status of a race-winning team.
In a separate development unrelated to the Alpine shake-up, the team’s chief technical officer, Pat Fry, is set to leave the Enstone camp to join Williams in a similar capacity by the end of this year.
As Alpine faces these significant leadership changes, it will be interesting to see how the new interim team principal, Bruno Famin, guides the team through the rest of the season and beyond. The departure of long-standing figures like Szafnauer and Permane marks the end of an era, but it also opens the door to new opportunities and possibilities for the future of the team. With the ongoing commitment and support from Luca de Meo and the wider Alpine organization, fans and stakeholders eagerly await the team’s progress and success in the upcoming races and seasons.