Szafnauer on Alpine exit: “It’s better to do different things if we can’t see eye to eye” on project

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Otmar Szafnauer has spoken out for the first time since his departure from Alpine by mutual consent was confirmed on Friday at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team boss will leave the Enstone-based squad following tomorrow’s race.

Only last Sunday in Hungary, the Romanian-American had been talking about a long-term project to get Alpine to the top of Formula One, citing Mercedes and Red Bull as examples of teams needing time to get everything in place to start winning races and championships.

Speaking about why he has left, Szafnauer stated a difference of opinion between him and the upper management at Alpine led to his departure.

While Szafnauer was thinking long-term to get back to the team’s glory days of 1994 and 1995 + 2005 and 2006, the likes of Bruno Famin and Luca Di Meo want success very soon.

“We just had a bit of a difference on how long it really takes to change a Formula One team from a mid grid team to a top team.

“I think it takes years — and maybe some of the top management thought it should take less than that.

“If we can’t see eye to eye on the timeline, it’s better to do different things.”

As for the future, Szafnauer expects to be back in Formula One at some stage.

“[I will] probably not [be] at another team for a year. But you never know what tomorrow brings.”

In Friday’s team bosses press conference, Alpine interim team boss Bruno Famin explained the exits of Szafnauer and Alan Permane. The Brit has spent a remarkable 34 years at the team. His departure is an even bigger shock.

Photo Credit: Alpine F1 Team

“I think with Otmar and with Alan – it’s the same with Alan Permane, it’s the same that means they are great people, we really thank them for all what they brought to the team, for a very long time for Alan, 34 years in Enstone.

“More recently with Otmar he secured the fourth place in the championship last year which was a good achievement, but we were not on the same line on how… on the timeline to recover the level… or to reach the level of performance we are aiming for. Mutually we agreed to split our ways, and that’s it.”

Pushed on if it was a mutual agreement with Szafnauer and Permane for them to leave, Famin stated: “We have been discussing for a while about what we needed to do on the timeline for the evolution we required in Alpine F1 teams and we discussed, we are confident it can make it.

“On that one stage you realise that we are not on the same paths and then we decide to split ways.”