HULKENBERG GIVES FORMULA 1 SHOUT OUT TO ATON MARTIN. DO YOU HAVE A SPOT ON THE GRID?
Otmar Szafnauer’s departure from Aston Martin, after 13 years at the former Force India and Racing Point, to Alpine coincided with the arrival of Lawrence Stroll as fleet owner. The billionaire, the father of driver Lance, changed the entire structure within the team, bringing Martin Whitmarsh from McLaren to the position of managing director. Little by little, Szafnauer saw his performance decline with the arrival of the “new shark”, culminating in the decision to leave the team.
“With the arrival of Martin [Whitmarsh]it became clear that the management structure would be in such a way that I would not have the influence that I thought I should have. [A Aston Martin] it clearly showed that the roles I had were not going to be returned,” revealed Otmar Szafnauer.
“[No GP de Abu Dhabi], they told me: ‘You used to manage the team, but you don’t anymore’. I had a contract. So if the duties were not removed from me, I would have stayed,” the Romanian-American leader.
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Aston Martin is still without points after Otmar Szafnauer’s departure (Image: Aston Martin)
During his time with the team, Otmar was directly involved in several memorable events, such as Sergio Pérez’s victory in Bahrain and most recently Sebastian Vettel’s first podium in an Aston Martin in Azerbaijan. It was his experience leading riders and teams to success that attracted Alpine, and the switch was an easy decision for Szafnauer.
“I had a discussion with the seniors who said, ‘Look, the reason we want you is because of your experience in Formula 1, and we want to use that at Alpine to help us win races.’ , you’re very confident that that’s what they’re doing. ‘I’m hiring you. They wanted my experience, so I went,” explained Otmar.
For now, Szafnauer seems to have made the right choice. While Alpine takes fourth place in the Constructors’ World Cup in 2022, Aston Martin is suffering at the back of the grid and has not scored a single point in the first two races. Formula 1 returns this weekend, with the Australian Grand Prix on April 10.
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