Szafnauer joins Alpine as F1 team principal
Otmar Szafnauer has joined Alpine F1 Team as Team Principal, as part of a wider restructuring of the French Formula 1 kit senior management, the Renault-owned automaker said Thursday.
The Romanian-American, who left Aston Martin last month, will take on the role of team principal, which was shared by Marcin Budkowski and Davide Brivio last year.
Brivio, former Suzuki MotoGP team boss, will take on a broader role, identifying and developing talent for Alpine’s young rider academy and wider racing operations. Budkowski left Alpine in January.
The Enstone-based team, whose drivers are Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso and Frenchman Esteban Ocon, have also announced the signing of Bruno Famin to lead their power unit operations headquartered in Viry-Chatillon. near Paris.
Famin, most recently deputy general secretary for sport at governing body FIA, led Peugeot to three consecutive Dakar Rally victories at the helm of its sporting division from 2016 to 2018 and a triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009. as the technical manager of its endurance programme.
Alpine said the managerial changes replace a shared responsibility structure at the top with a more streamlined approach, which would “maximize its performance” in the new era of F1 rules.
“With Otmar and Bruno joining the team, we are moving to a new level for 2022,” said Alpine managing director Laurent Rossi.
Szafnauer: My attention is focused on preparing for the start of the season in Bahrain
Former Force India, Racing Point and Aston Martin team principal Szafnauer is a longtime Formula 1 insider, who previously worked with Honda before joining the Vijay Mallya-owned Force India team. which was bought by billionaire Lawrence Stroll in 2018 and renamed Aston Martin last year.
Media speculation had linked him with a move to Alpine as early as November last year, with the team’s signing of Austrian water tech company BWT as title partner earlier this week not making what to add to it.
BWT previously sponsored Aston Martin, the partnership dating back to the days of Racing Point and Force India.
“My attention is focused on preparing for the start of the season in Bahrain,” Szafnauer said. “As one of the three car manufacturers involved in Formula 1, Alpine is fully armed to achieve its ambition, I can’t wait to start the journey.”
Alpine, winner with Ocon in Hungary last year, finished the 2021 season fifth overall.
The team, which is due to launch its 2022 car on February 21 in Paris, strengthened its technical department earlier this month by promoting F1 veteran Pat Fry to technical director and Matt Harman, formerly of Mercedes, to technical director position.
The team’s aim is to challenge for the championship within 100 races following the introduction of the sport’s sweeping new rules this year. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle)
Alpine F1 Team Press Release
BWT Alpine F1 Team is delighted to announce the appointment of Otmar Szafnauer as Team Principal and Bruno Famin as Executive Director of Alpine Racing in Viry-Châtillon, both reporting to Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine.
As detailed in November 2021, this new organization aims to optimize the performance of the team in preparation for the new technical regulations introduced from 2022. The arrival of two highly experienced and recognized motorsport professionals confirms BWT’s ambition Alpine F1 Team, defined by Luca de Meo. , CEO of the Renault group, and Laurent Rossi, to fight for the championship in the 100 races following the introduction of the new regulations.
As Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer will lead the BWT Alpine F1 team at Enstone and at races throughout the season. Otmar is one of Formula 1’s most talented and respected managers and will bring 33 years of motorsport experience to the team.
His focus will be to manage BWT Alpine F1 Team by consistently delivering all aspects of Alpine’s performance, including engineering and race management. Otmar will also help the team make the most of the talents of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.
After starting his career as an engineer with Ford Motor Company, Otmar came to F1 in 1998 with British American Racing as operations director before joining Honda as vice-president of its F1 program. He has consistently proven his talent for fully exploiting a team’s potential during his various tenures.
At Force India, he led the team from last place in the Constructors’ Championship to a solid fourth, despite having the lowest budget and number of staff in the paddock. He also led Racing Point to its first victory and fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship in only its second season, and Aston Martin to its first-ever F1 podium.
Szafnauer: “I am delighted to join BWT Alpine F1 Team and ready to work with everyone to meet our challenge: to lead the team to fight for the championship in the next 100 races.
“My attention is focused on preparing for the start of the season in Bahrain. As one of the three car manufacturers involved in Formula 1, Alpine is fully armed to achieve its ambition, I can’t wait to start the journey!
The Frenchman will bring his unique motorsport experience to Alpine, with the mission of continuing the development of Alpine’s Formula 1 engine and maximizing technology transfers from Formula 1 to Alpine cars. Bruno and the technical team at Viry-Châtillon will put measures and structures in place to ensure that the chassis team at Enstone has a power unit capable of racing competitively under the new regulations. .
Most recently Deputy Secretary General for Sport at the FIA, Bruno showed his talent for more than 15 years at Peugeot, where he led the technical program of the Endurance team, culminating in the victory of the Peugeot 908 at Le Mans in 2009, and 24 wins out of 32 races. , before becoming director of Peugeot Sport in 2012.
Responsible for relaunching Peugeot’s sports program, he proved his talent for developing cutting-edge technologies to drive cars to victory, culminating in a record at Pike’s Peak in 2013, a Teams World Rallycross Championship in 2015, and three consecutive victories on the Dakar. between 2016 and 2018.
He also oversaw the design of Peugeot’s sports vehicles, proving his ability to bring performance-oriented technologies, originally designed for competition, to production vehicles.
Famin: “It’s great to be back in competition, and even more so to join Alpine, with such ambition and unique engineering capabilities. Viry-Châtillon is one of the biggest factories one could dream of, I look forward to joining its incredible talents, and to working closely with the teams in Enstone, Dieppe, Les Ulis and Boulogne-Billancourt.
The MotoGP great who joined the team in 2021, will continue to provide his unparalleled ability to identify and develop young potential as director of racing expansion projects, overseeing participation in all racing categories, including the Alpine Academy.
The relationship between Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon has been key to Alpine’s performance in 2021 and Davide will strive to foster that team spirit across all racing categories.
As part of his mission, Davide will also be responsible for identifying, developing and bringing to life projects around new opportunities for Alpine in the world of motorsport and exploring new territories to foster the development of Alpine in the sport.
Brivio: “Alpine’s group of riders is key to its long-term performance, and I’m delighted to be able to contribute to the exciting ambition to shape a new responsible and inclusive culture within racing.
“Formula 1 is a flagship, but we must also develop our ambition in new territories, and I am ready to support Laurent Rossi towards this objective.”
Laurent RossiAlpine CEO, said: “With Otmar and Bruno joining the team, we are moving to a new level for 2022. Otmar will bring his unique motorsport background and uncompromising desire to win, while Bruno’s proven track record in building technologies that make a competitive difference and their subsequent transfer to road cars is essential for our project as a sports team and as a brand.
“Over the past year, I’ve seen Davide’s talent for identifying the best in people and getting them to perform as well as they can. I am excited to use this unique skill in all existing alpine assets and the new ones we are just starting to explore. Our roster of riders is complete and ready to lead the team towards its ambitious goals in 2022.”