Alpine F1 reshuffle continues as team principal Szafnauer leaves

Sporting director Alan Permane and chief technical officer Pat Fry also depart French outfit.
  • Bruno Famin takes over as interim team principal
  • Alan Permane and Pat Fry also depart Enstone outfit
  • Alain Prost calls former CEO Rossi ‘incapable leader’

The Alpine Formula One team have continued their management reshuffle as Otmar Szafnauer has departed the French outfit.

The Enstone-based team have also announced the departures of sporting director Alan Permane and chief technical officer Pat Fry.

This news came less than a week after Renault replaced Laurent Rossi as chief executive of the Alpine brand.

Bruno Famin, who was appointed to lead all motorsport activities earlier this month, will assume the role of interim team principal from the Dutch Grand Prix onwards.

Szafnauer spent 18 months with Alpine following his switch from Aston Martin, and he has hinted that he already has another role lined up in the sport.

Fry departs to join Williams Racing as their new chief technical officer following three-and-a-half years at the team.

However, its the departure of Permane that is most surprising, with the British engineer having began his career at Enstone in 1989, when the team was known as Benetton. 34 years later, he has been deemed surplus to requirements.

In other news, Alpine has announced that state-owned Brazilian bank Banco BRB will sponsor the team at the São Paulo Grand Prix.

The company’s logo will feature on the rear wing, the helmets of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, and in the team’s garage.

BlackBook says…

Alpine have been quick to act following the €200 million (US$217.8 million) injection from RedBird Capital Partners and Otro Capital.

However, even that investment appears confused, with Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney reportedly being granted stakes in the team in return for leveraging their global profiles.

With Rossi, Szafnauer, Permane and Fry all gone, Renault needs to show that there is a clear plan in place to move the team forwards, something that doesn’t appear to be forthcoming.

Famin’s appointment as interim team principal ‘from the Dutch Grand Prix onwards’ implies that there was no true replacement lined up when this decision was made.

Former non-executive director Alain Prost, who served the team between 2015 and 2022, best summed up the current turmoil at Alpine in a column for L’Equipe.

‘[The team] deserves better and has everything it needs to succeed,’ he wrote. ‘I simply believe you need to rely on history to understand what went wrong.

‘If you look at the great success stories from the last 30 years, you will see a simple structure – unlike an industrial organisation chart – built around three or four strong personalities, coupled with a winning driver.’

On Rossi, he was scathing: ‘The man who was the boss of Alpine for 18 months thought he had understood everything from the start when he was totally misguided. His management broke the momentum that had been in place since 2016 to achieve these podiums and this victory.

‘[Rossi was] an incapable leader who thinks he can overcome his incompetence by his arrogance and his lack of humanity towards his troops.’

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