Otmar Szafnauer, Aston Martin, 2021

Aston Martin’s Szafnauer dismisses Alpine move reports as “misinformation”

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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[raceweekendpromotion]Aston Martin CEO Otmar Szafnauer has dismissed claims he is poised to switch teams to Alpine.

Reports appeared elsewhere on Thursday claiming Szafnauer was preparing to leave the team he has been with since 2009, when it competed as Force India. Szafnauer stated on social media the reports are incorrect.

“My Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team communications staff have correctly issued a spokesperson’s statement to the effect that rumours linking me to Alpine F1 Team are merely ‘speculative conjecture’ and that they would not therefore comment further,” said Szafnauer.

“However, since the rumours have now been sensationalised on certain websites, creating a spiral of misinformation, I have taken the decision proactively to confirm hereby that the rumours are pure media speculation and not based on fact.”

Szafnauer arrived in Formula 1 with the British American Racing team in 1998 as its operations director. He went on to work for Jaguar and Honda before joining his current team.

After serving as the chief operations officer and deputy team principal at Force India, Szafnauer became CEO and team principal after the outfit was bought by Lawrence Stroll in 2018. It was subsequently rebranded as Racing Point and, at the beginning of this year, Aston Martin.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Aston Martin’s Szafnauer dismisses Alpine move reports as “misinformation””

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    11th November 2021, 20:59

    Was surprised to see the rumour being posted on rather large websites, which really shows that size =/= reliability. And by large I don’t mean merely in traffic (as that has shown to mean nothing with copy-paste sites popping up all over the place and become massive), but in name. Usually they are pretty on-point and actually present at races.

    Sucks, really.

    1. someone or something
      11th November 2021, 23:47

      I dunno, I wouldn’t rush my judgement as to whether size matters. Just because he denies it, it doesn’t mean he won’t show up in pre-season testing wearing a blue shirt. He’s lied about many things before, and nothing gets lied about more than contractual matters.

  2. the rumours are pure media speculation and not based on fact.”

    so ts not untrue…
    but it is not based on fact..
    its media speculation but could possibly true.
    Looks like a more political answer..

    Its a nice careermove.. his days at AM are numbered and Renault needs someone with the right attitude.

  3. When they hired Martin Whitmarsh, the writing was on the wall for all to see. Whitmarsh has not been a very successful leaser. I wonder what he brings to the table. It must be something. Maybe Stroll believes he’s more capable of running a larger team org due to his days at McLaren.

    1. Thanks,
      I already forgot who they hired in an even more senior operating position (which is difficult if you are CEO).
      I’m instantly disappointed again.

      PS Szafnauer moving to Alpine doesn’t excite me either.

  4. Notice he didn’t say the rumors were false or that he has no plans to leave Aston Martin.

    1. @g-funk But he did. ‘not based on fact’ is the same as false.

      1. @jerejj ‘Not based on fact’ isn’t actually the same as the story being false. It could be based on rumors or innuendo or it could even be based on misinformation but that doesn’t mean that the news itself is in fact false. It just means the that while based on something that is not a fact, the story itself can be fact.

        With a lot of these PR releases you often have to look very carefully at the choice of words and what isn’t said as much as what is said.

  5. Do the principles have to on gardening leave? I find it interesting that engineers are shelved for a while but drivers can move uninhibited and now the question of a team principal moving.

    Shouldn’t they write into their contracts the same obligations?

    1. it has happened but very rare…. Kimi

      1. someone or something
        12th November 2021, 8:26

        No, that was different. The issue was that Ferrari decided they’d rather not have him in the cockpit, but he had a contract, so they had to continue paying him his salary, provided he kept his side of the contract. Him driving in F1 for another team would’ve freed Ferrari from their obligations, but no one was willing to offer comparable pay, so Räikkönen decided he’d rather get paid to do nothing.
        The crucial difference to a gardening leave is that he could’ve changed teams at any moment, as soon as 2010, but decided against it.

        This whole constellation was later twisted into a conspiracy theory, according to which Ferrari were so scared of letting the driver they didn’t need anymore drive for another team, they demanded a transfer fee of a hefty 20 million, which no one was willing to pay.
        Well, that figure was simply the (estimated) salary Ferrari owed him for the next two seasons, and they were not willing to continue to pay him while he drove for another team. So, there was never any adhesion contract or transfer fee, just a stalemate caused by the unusual situation in which a driver, who was signed as a star driver with a corresponding contract, had come to be considered a liability.

        1. Kimi wasn’t a liability, Alonso came with a LOT of money from Santander, enough to pay his and Kimi’s salarys and more left over for Ferarri

          1. someone or something
            12th November 2021, 12:59

            Yeah, “Santander” is the cornerstone of the conspiracy theory. It doesn’t have to make sense, just drop the name and everyone will agree that spending 8 figures for no tangible benefit and basically sinister hidden reasons is exactly what a bank does …

            Yes, he was a liability. Neither Ferrari nor Santander had the slightest interest in paying him to do nothing, but they had to free a cockpit for Alonso, and considering Räikkönen’s disappointing performances after 2007, they axed him.
            And for the rest of my story, see my comment above. Santander may have footed the bill for Ferrari, but Räikkönen was free to leave whenever he wanted. But he didn’t, because money.

  6. I dont see how Otmar will fit in at Alpine. They already restructured the team, so what will he do? They already have Rossi, Brivio, Budkowski and Pat Fry.

    Perhaps more changes are a foot? It would seem odd though, the structure has just been set up, changing at this stage will be counter productive.

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