Szafnauer leaves as team principal of Aston Martin F1 Team

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Otmar Szafnauer’s position had been under scrutiny for some time, especially after signing Martin Whitmarsh. Szafnauer insisted the former McLaren team boss would not be too involved with the Aston Martin Formula 1 team, but the practice soon proved otherwise. It has sparked rumors of Szafnauer’s departure and even a move to Alpine. Although those involved do not want to say anything about the latter, it was officially announced on Wednesday that Szafnauer has left Aston Martin with immediate effect.

The departure of Szafnauer is the end of an era for the team from Silverstone. The Romanian American started in Formula 1 in 1998 and has been associated with the current Aston Martin since 2009, logically under different names. “We would like to thank him very much for his efforts over the past twelve years and wish him all the best for his future challenges,” reads the press release. In his role, Szafnauer has played a prominent role in the rise of the team that has long been known as Force India and then Racing Point, and behind the scenes he has also played a significant role in the engine deal signed with Mercedes.

However, after the acquisition of Lawrence Stroll and especially after Whitmarsh’s Formula 1 return, doubts grew about his position and added value. The current departure therefore comes as no surprise, and neither does the announcement that his duties will first be taken over internally. “The team will be led by the existing management team until we have appointed a replacement,” it said. “We are also fortunate that the team is already led by a group of very strong individuals. As a result, we will take our time before announcing a new leadership structure. Our focus is currently on getting the most competitive car possible for the 2022 season.”

Where Aston Martin alludes to a new structure, a similar process has already been initiated at Alpine – which, incidentally, has not yet been a resounding success. After the departure of Cyril Abiteboul and the signing of Davide Brivio from MotoGP, the top positions have been moved several times. It means that a real team boss is still missing and that Szafnauer would be in the picture with the French team, although those involved do not want to go into that at this stage.

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