Otmar Szafnauer joins Alpine F1 as team principal in reshuffle


Alpine appoints Otmar Szafnauer as new team principal and recruits former Peugeot Sport boss Bruno Famin to take charge of engine development

Otmar Szafnauer in Alpine shirt

Former Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has joined the Alpine Formula 1 team and announced plans to challenge for the world championship in four years’ time.

Szafnauer, who stepped down from his previous role at the beginning of this year, has been expected to join Alpine for some time. He will lead the team in a much-rumoured switch, bringing to an end the unconventional dual-headed structure that was introduced last year.

He is taking charge of all development at the Enstone factory and trackside race management, unifying two roles that were held by the outgoing Marcin Budkowski and Davide Brivio who moves to a new job, identifying and developing young drivers.

Alpine also announced the appointment of Bruno Famin, who led the technical programme for Peugeot’s Le Mans-winning 908 before becoming director of Peugeot Sport. He moves from his current senior FIA role to head up Alpine’s engine development.

“I am thrilled to join Alpine and ready to get to work with everyone to achieve our challenge: bring the team to fight for the championship within the next 100 races,” said Szafnauer. “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.”

Alpine has finished the season fifth in the constructors’ championship in the past three seasons, with little sign of moving forward, despite Esteban Ocon’s win in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

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With the departure of former team principal Cyril Abiteboul at the beginning of 2021, the team unusually replaced him with two heads. Executive director Budkowski led car development and Davide Brivio, fresh from the Suzuki MotoGP team which had powered Joan Mir to the title, was appointed to take charge of trackside operations.

However, a year after the structure was announced, Budkowski parted ways with the team, paving the way for Szafnauer to join.

Szafnauer entered F1 with British American Racing in 1998, starting as operations director before joining Honda as vice president of its F1 programme. He joined Force India in 2009, leading the team from last in the constructors’ championship to fourth on a limited budget. In its later guise of Racing Point, he saw the team take its first win with Sergio Perez at Sakhir in 2020.

Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, said that the Formula 1 team was now “complete” as it looked to move in to title contention. “With Otmar and Bruno joining the team, we move to a new level for 2022,” he said.

“Otmar will bring his unique experience in motor sports and his uncompromising desire to win, while Bruno’s proven track record in building technologies that make a difference in competition and their subsequent transference to road cars is critical for our project as a sports team and as a brand.

“Over the past year I have seen Davide’s talent to identify the best in people, and to make them perform as well as they can. I am delighted to utilise this unique skill across all existing Alpine assets and new ones we are just starting to explore. Our band of racers is complete and ready to bring the team towards its ambitious objectives in 2022.”