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.

Listen to this article

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

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

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Alex Kalinuackas

Assessing Hamilton's Mercedes stint Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jonathan Noble

Why new-look Haas is a litmus test Why new-look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Alex Kalinauckas

Assessing Wolff's Mercedes influence The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
GP Racing

The line-up Ocon, Gasly may emulate The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
GP Racing

Who were the fastest F1 drivers? Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Adam Cooper

Why Hulkenberg is ready for return Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jonathan Noble

Why Vasseur relishes the pressure Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Prime
Prime
Formula 1
Jake Boxall-Legge

F1 2023's crucial tech changes The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023