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.

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."

Szfanauer said on Thursday evening that the reports were just "media speculation".

"My Aston Martin team communications staff have correctly issued a spokesperson's statement to the effect that rumours linking me to Alpine F1 team are merely 'speculative conjecture' and that they would not therefore comment further," he wrote on Instagram.

"However, since the rumours have now been sensationalised on certain websites, creating a spiral of misinformation, l have taken the decision proactively to confirm hereby that the rumours are pure media speculation and not based on fact."

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.

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

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.

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

"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."

Read Also:

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."

shares
comments

Related video

De Vries felt ‘honoured’ to be linked to F1 seats in 2022 silly season
Previous article

De Vries felt ‘honoured’ to be linked to F1 seats in 2022 silly season

Next article

Steiner: F1 teams face ‘pretty tough’ week after freight delays

Steiner: F1 teams face ‘pretty tough’ week after freight delays
Load comments
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Prime

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Prime

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes Prime

The factors that could negate Red Bull's practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton...

Formula 1
Dec 4, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021