Aston Martin has confirmed the departure of Otmar Szafnauer from the team ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Szafnauer joined the Silverstone-based team back in 2009 under its Force India guise and remained at the team during its transformations into Racing Point and then Aston Martin in 2021.
He held the role of CEO since the team’s Racing Point days during which he oversaw the team’s evolution into the Aston Martin outfit. His tenure included the team’s first victory as Racing Point with Sergio Perez during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
In a statement released by the team, it confirmed that it would not be naming a direct replacement yet and that his responsibilities would be shared within the leadership of the team until an appointment was found.
“Otmar Szafnauer has left the Company and his role at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team will be managed within the leadership team until a replacement is appointed,” the statement read.
“We would like to thank him for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges.
“Fortunately, we are led and managed by a strong group of individuals, and we are comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure. The focus of the team is currently on preparing the most competitive car possible for the start of the 2022 season.”
Rumours during the 2021 season indicated that Szafnauer may be on the way to Alpine though neither party ever confirmed or denied a move was on the cards.
Ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Szafnaeur said that he was not looking to leave Aston Martin, though would not be drawn on whether he was in talks with any other team on the F1 grid.
“I’ve been at the team for 12 years, I have no intention of leaving, I love this team,” he said in São Paulo.
“Most of the senior managers especially through Racing Point and the senior leadership team was recruited and put there by myself and I have no intentions of leaving them.
“I’ve been loyal to this team – I’ve had many, many offers in the 12 years I’ve been working for this team, especially in the days of the bankruptcy and insolvency. I could have left many times but I’m loyal to the employees there.
“I’m always reticent to disclose contractual details but I can tell you I have a long-term contract in place with Aston.”
Ahead of the ’21 Brazil race, he released a statement calling the rumours “pure media speculation” and links with Alpine were ‘speculative conjecture’.