Otmar Szafnauer, Aston Martin, 2021

Aston Martin announces departure of CEO Otmar Szafnauer

2022 F1 season

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Aston Martin has confirmed the departure of its CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

Last year Szafnauer was rumoured to be in line for a move to rivals Alpine.

Aston Martin confirmed today 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 57-year-old had been with the team since it competed as Force India.

“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,” Aston Martin’s statement continued.

“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.”

Szafnauer arrived in Formula 1 in 1999 as operations director for the new BAR team. He previously worked for Ford’s racing division in the USA. He subsequently worked for Jaguar and Honda before beginning a lengthy spell at Force India, which later became Racing Point and last year rebranded as Aston Martin.

The team has been on a major recruitment drive of late, hiring significant technical figures from several of their rivals. Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was also hired as the Group CEO for Aston Martin Performance Technologies in September.

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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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44 comments on “Aston Martin announces departure of CEO Otmar Szafnauer”

  1. Not a surprise given Martin Whitmash’s arrival. He is not a shrinking violet about letting people know how things are being done wrong in his opinion

  2. Wonder if we can expect an announcement from Alpine in the next few days

    1. I expect Alonso to become driver-principal at Alpine :)
      You heard it here first.

      1. El Plan finally revealed

      2. ‘All the time you have to leave a space……..for a Team Principal’.

          1. good one :D

  3. Long expected

  4. If my predictions are as solid for stocks I have to invest this year :)
    But as I stated before. Otto and stroll are not compatible.
    So this was inevitable.

    1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      5th January 2022, 19:42

      Good luck! Having AML shares in 2020 and last year was a nerve-wracking experience at times, they seem more stable now. Hopefully they come good long term with Tobias Moers at the helm.

    2. Raymond Umbara
      6th January 2022, 2:08

      I agree. The two have very different characters. They would not have seen eye to eye (comfortably) on how best to do things and sadly it would not have been best for the team

  5. Everytime Otmar and Lawrence appeared on screen together they looked awkward AF…this has been a long time coming.

  6. I think he saw the writing on the wall that his long term is position would be untenable. Sure he’ll be snapped up by another team quickly.

  7. All those who helped fascillitate the sale of ForceIndia to the strolls will eventually get kicked out in the end.
    Perez was shown the door not long after, now Szafnauer.

  8. Withmarsh can implement is wiremess management model again.

    1. Yeah. It doesn’t look good to me. Hope I’m wrong.

  9. Eventually after all.

  10. When asked if he would be with Aston Martin next season, he replied: “Look, I’ve been at the team for 12 years, I have no intention of leaving, I love this team. 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,” he added.

    A bald faced liar then, will fit in well with the rest of them.

    1. @skipgamer I’m not sure the decision for his departure was necessarily made at his end. Lawrence Stroll never seemed 100% comfortable with Otmar, and the announcement of Whitmarsh may also have something to do with this announcement.

    2. Suitable for the position toto will leave behind then :)
      But on a serious note. Stroll seems to have a habit of sacking people at the latest moment. Keeping all options open until the last moment.

    3. Oh come on you can’t really be this stupid can you? The man doesn’t want to leave.

      1. No one here knows what he wants (life is not a video game and your own sandbox). No need to offend others, especially since you didn’t prove to be “smart” yourself. If anyone here had any real idea we wouldn’t be just fans, but earning money in F1 instead.

        1. I do know actually.

    4. Yup. Everyone knew it, he knew it, he chose those words to deflect it.
      The departure is a sign of the team growing out of mercedes dependency.

    5. I think he is booted as he was no planning to quit so calling him a liar is maybe too harsh as he doesn’t have any saying about this.

  11. It was painful listening to him trying to justify retaining Stroll Jr over Perez – it was clear then that he wouldn’t be there for long. I think he’s a decent resource for any midfield team given Force India’s performance back then so he should be snapped up soon.

  12. I hope the silly behaviour Otmar engaged in several times this year will be retired by the team, too.

  13. A shame, but not too unexpected. While I haven’t always seen eye to eye with him, there is no doubt that he’s a great team principal and has worked wonders with that Silverstone team (through their various iterations) over the years, especially considering the budget they had in the Force India days. I hope to see him back in the sport with someone (*cough* Alpine *cough*)

  14. Fire your CEO 3 months before a new season with new regulations… What could go wrong?

    1. @János, I doubt a single individual leaving will have a noticeable impact.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        5th January 2022, 19:34

        @jerejj I think one person can have a huge impact especially in a key position.

        1. Not at this time as most work was done in 2021. That is why he was layed off at this moment. This impact more the long term visions of the team.

    2. I have an opinion
      6th January 2022, 7:07

      I feel Lawrence Stroll has been a far greater hands-on owner than, say, Dietrich Mateschitz or John Elkann / famiglia Agnelli. So Otmar has only nominally been CEO / team principal while his real role has been middle manager.

      1. I think your mistaken as Dietrich Mateschitz gets what he wants maybe he is more subtil in how he does it like using a certain Doctor…

  15. and it looks like BWT has gone as a sponsor too.

    1. I believe they are moving to Alpine.

  16. Otmar for Race Director!

    1. I have an opinion
      6th January 2022, 6:54

      Almost everyone in the paddock that you could name would do a better job than Masi. The problem is, why would they want that job?

      1. Correct what you do it’s always wrong that was even in the time of Charlie (maybe less but his experience was more then 30 years more then Massi)
        I think he needs some more people in his team to let the pressure taken by more shoulders.

  17. Straight up dude, knowledgeable, well respected and quick enough – very good candidate for Masi’s gig.

  18. I wonder whether we’ll see the team struggle more for cohesion and team spirit after his departure.

    It just doesn’t seem to have the same vibe as it did in the FI days

  19. curious now to see if OS will be asked to comment on Aston Martin, etc. Would love to know if all his praise of Lance (always using superlatives when Lance had a decent race or qualy) were a part of his contract of if it was genuine. i always found it very disturbing..
    also, since the rumour probably during fall when he was refusing rumours of him leaving, i knew this would come..so, no surprise..Stroll for world champion! not!

  20. But will he tell us what he really thinks of Lance’s qualities now?

  21. I would say he has achieved the amximum result with that team as such it is a good time to move on?

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