Aston Martin F1 boss Szafnauer set for shock switch to Alpine

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer is poised for a surprise switch to the Alpine Formula 1 team as part of a management reshuffle, sources have revealed.

Aston Martin F1 boss Szafnauer set for shock switch to Alpine

Just a week after Alpine F1 CEO Laurent Rossi hinted at a management shakeup for next season in a bid to move the French car manufacturer up the grid, there are mounting suggestions that Szafnauer has been poached from Aston Martin as part of this plan.

According to sources with good knowledge of the situation, Szafnauer has agreed to the move in principle but there is no formal confirmation yet.

It is unclear when any official announcement will be made. It could potentially come as early as this weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix, or it may wait for the winter to fall in line with a timeline laid out by Rossi.

Both Aston Martin and Alpine have declined to comment on the matter.

An Aston Martin spokesman said: "It's speculative conjecture. We couldn't comment on it therefore."

An Alpine spokesman added: "These are rumours that we are not going to comment on."

While there is no news yet about the position that Szafnauer could take, it is possible that his arrival will prompt a wider change of structure at Alpine.

There have been indications for some time that Alpine's racing director Davide Brivio will return to MotoGP for 2022 after deciding that he would prefer a return to two-wheeled racing.

If Brivio does depart, it means that Szafnauer could fulfil more of a team principal role, with Alpine's executive director Marcin Budkowski taking more responsibility on the racing and technical side.

Rossi suggested recently that Alpine needed to shake things up for 2022 after feeling that its progress towards the front of the grid had stalled.

Davide Brivio, Racing Director, Alpine F1, and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1

Davide Brivio, Racing Director, Alpine F1, and Esteban Ocon, Alpine F1

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

"I think the team has moved from P9 to P5, before the plateau we've reached, pretty well in the past years," Rossi told Autosport.

"But now, to move to the next stage and become the best of the top teams rather than just the best of the rest, it's another evolution that is needed.

"So what I want to do is to keep the momentum of the prior season, that's why I want to keep that fifth position. I don't want us to regress.

"We learned a lot operationally this year, so that's always a plus. We're going to apply that next year, but then we're going to need to build muscles to grow and move from P5 to P1, race after race, season after season in the next few years."

If Szafnauer's departure is confirmed, then it is unclear at this stage who will replace him as team principal at Aston Martin.

The Silverstone squad recently hired former McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh to a senior role with Aston Martin Performance Technologies, but he has been present at grands prix and would be an obvious candidate.

Speaking recently, Szafnauer said he did not expect Whitmarsh to be involved much in the F1 team – but a final call had not been made.

"I would imagine at the beginning, most of his time will be spent growing the Aston Martin Performance Technologies area, which is where his most recent expertise lies, and not focus so much on F1," he said. "But the bit that hasn't been planned is how much of his time will be spent where."

Szafnauer responded to the story on Instagram, stating that "the rumours are pure media speculation and not based on fact'".

shares
comments

Related video

"Very unstable" Brazil weather could swing Red Bull-Mercedes battle
Previous article

"Very unstable" Brazil weather could swing Red Bull-Mercedes battle

Next article

Steiner: F1 teams face "pretty tough" week after freight delays

Steiner: F1 teams face "pretty tough" week after freight delays
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022