TEAM boss Otmar Szafnauer will leave Renault-owned Alpine after tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix with Bruno Famin taking over as interim principal, the Formula One team said yesterday.
Alpine said the team’s sporting director Alan Permane, who has been at the Enstone factory for 34 years, was leaving by mutual agreement while chief technical officer Pat Fry is joining Williams in the same role.
Alpine Academy director Julian Rouse was named as Permane’s interim replacement while Matt Harman leads the technical team at Enstone.
“Otmar will continue his duties as normal for this weekend’s race in Belgium, before leaving the team ahead of the summer break,” Alpine said.
Szafnauer, a paddock veteran, joined from Aston Martin in January last year.
He faced an early setback when Australian reserve Oscar Piastri refused the offer of a seat and joined McLaren for 2023 after double world champion Fernando Alonso announced a surprise move to Aston Martin.
Laurent Rossi, the man who appointed Szafnauer, was replaced as chief executive of the Alpine sportscar brand on July 20 and re-assigned to unspecified ‘special projects’ within the Renault group.
Rossi had warned in May that he would make changes if performances did not improve, and said the buck stopped with Szafnauer.
Famin already has overall responsibility for all of Alpine’s motorsport activities, including the Formula One team and world endurance, and Szafnauer reported to him after Rossi’s departure.
Williams said Fry, who has had senior roles at both McLaren and Ferrari, will start work on November 1.