Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

We’ll know in two years whether to regret letting Alonso get away – Szafnauer

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Alpine was not caught unaware by Fernando Alonso’s abrupt announcement following the last race that he will not continue to drive for them next year, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.

However Szafnauer admitted he had been optimistic about the team’s chances of keeping the two-times world champion within their fold, despite emerging rumours Aston Martin was courting him.

“There was a paddock rumour on Sunday that could happen,” he said in today’s press conference at Spa-Francorchamps. “So not that big of a surprise.

“But the surprising bit was that we went a long way with Fernando and our negotiations with him and we had good faith negotiations. We got to the final hurdle and Fernando indicated that he is ready to sign.

“As it turns out he was also negotiating with others, which we knew about. He was a free agent and he was more than welcome to do so. But the only surprising bit was that it was announced Monday morning after on Sunday night, he indicated that there was no need to rush. So that was really surprising.”

Yesterday Alonso revealed he did not inform Szafnauer of his decision before his move was announced, but he did tell Renault CEO Luca de Meo and Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

“From what I understand, the announcement was 9am on Monday morning,” said Szafnauer. “I think about 8:30 or 8:45 he called Luca and also called Laurent. With only 15 minutes of notice, it’s hard to call three people.

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“So the announcement came before he had a chance to call me, but it definitely wasn’t on Sunday night that we were made aware.”

“The negotiations with Fernando began before I joined the team,” Szafnauer explained. “So we were all aware that his contract was coming to an end and he started indicating that he would like to stay in Formula 1 and stay with the team. Those negotiations started with without me being there, but towards the end I got involved, very involved. Towards the end I was involved with those talks I think from [Paul Ricard] onwards.”

Szafnauer said it’s too soon to judge whether the team has made a mistake in letting Alonso go. “I’m sure in any situation there are lessons learned,” he said. “Regrets? We should look back two years from now and see exactly what what’s transpired.

“With Fernando, like I said before, he was a free agent, we all knew he was a free agent. We knew he was negotiating with others, too. And we put in front of him a contract we’d be happy with. And like I say, a deal’s got to be good for both sides. So if you go beyond what you’re happy with, you shouldn’t do it, because it’s not good for you.

“So absolutely no regrets with Fernando and good luck to him. He’s gotten whatever that was that’s important to him, I don’t know what that is. Maybe that’s it was [contract length] but he obviously found a better deal and that’s fine.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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5 comments on “We’ll know in two years whether to regret letting Alonso get away – Szafnauer”

  1. “It’s hard to call three people”

    Well Otmar probably isn’t the best candidate for a telemarketing role. I think he’s in a tough spot to not look like he’s been caught with his pants down.

    But also how Alpine works from the inside doesn’t look good. F1 teams so often boast about ‘winning together – losing together’ etc. 15 mins notice is what a 15yr waitress / waiter gives when they decide they’d rather hang out with their friends.

    Not a multi-million dollar racing driver. Whatever the structure is at Enstone it would appear people either don’t trust each other or don’t communicate.

  2. He pushed alonso away with silly performance rules …

  3. Somewhere in Europe there’s a circus missing a ring master. One personnel issue can be nothing but issues with Alonso and Piastri seem to be an indication that Schnauzer might not be very good.

  4. Otmar should go, can’t speak clearly with all the maybe’s and ifs.

  5. More cash into the EU’s most wanted criminal Flavio Briatore

Comments are closed.