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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Szafnauer hopes “future is bright” for Alpine F1 staff

Outgoing Alpine Formula 1 team principal Otmar Szafnauer says he hopes that the “future is bright” for the staff members he is leaving behind at Enstone and Viry-Chatillon.

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1 Team, is interviewed

After 18 months in charge of the team, Szafnauer completed his final weekend with Alpine at Spa on Sunday evening, following Friday's announcement of his departure.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Bruno Famin, who is also Alpine’s VP of motorsport.

After Sunday’s race Szafnauer said an emotional farewell to team members in the garage and motorhome before heading to the airport. His tenure officially ends on Monday.

"For me personally, I'll be alright and I'm fine,” he told Motorsport.com just before he left the paddock.

“It's just my worry is for the all the wonderful men and women at Enstone and Viry that work hard and do a good job. I hope their future is bright.

"I was just getting into my stride, starting to know everybody, how to motivate them. You know, a high tide lifts all boats, and I was just getting to the point where I was raising the tide.

"There were people, not me so much, but people crying and saying goodbye. I told them, ‘Look, I'm still alive, I didn't die! I'll be alright.’"

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer ended on a high with a solid weekend at Spa for the team after the double retirements at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring.

Pierre Gasly finished third in Saturday’s sprint, but then lost out in Sunday’s main race when he was caught behind Oscar Piastri’s damaged McLaren at the start, before recovering to 11th.

Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon put in a charge from 14th on the grid to eighth at the flag, finishing just a second behind the McLaren of Lando Norris.

"Another couple of laps and it looked like we were catching Lando at the end,” said Szafnauer. “It was really good. Decent pace, we showed that yesterday [Saturday] too, with Pierre finishing third.

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“So a very good race, and unfortunately Pierre was compromised at the beginning when he got stuck behind Piastri, and he went so far back.

"I mean, he was running 18th for most of the race effectively. So for him to come back to 11th and nearly get there was also good.

"So a sprint podium and good points in Spa, fighting with McLaren. Two races ago it was all, 'Oh, they're going to win the world championship now,' and here we were fighting with them."

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