Formula One

Changes at the Alpine F1 Team – Szafnauer and Permane out

Alan Permane and Otmar Szafnauer are both leaving the Alpine F1 Team
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

The Alpine F1 Team have endured a bad start to the season, as they have dropped from fourth in the constructors’ championship to sixth this season, as of this time.

As a result, the French team have made plenty of changes in the structure of the team, and Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane are out of the team.

It was only last week when the team announced the replacement of Laurent Rossi with Philippe Krief in the role of CEO at Alpine. Rossi had publicly voiced his displeasure at the performance of the team over this season, calling it “amateurish”.

Szafnauer, who had previously worked at BAR, Honda and Force India, arrived at the team at the start of the 2022 season. Despite a competitive season for the French outfit, he received major criticism after losing Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin, as well as Oscar Piastri to McLaren, and for the team’s stance over that situation.

Permane, on the other hand, was part of the Enstone team for 34 years, meaning he saw the team evolve from Benetton, to Renault, to Lotus, back to Renault and now to Alpine. He was therefore part of the four championship winning seasons, two under Michael Schumacher in the mid-1990s and another two under Fernando Alonso in the mid-2000s.

The new structure of the Alpine F1 Team

As for their replacements, the team principal role vacated by Szafnauer will be taken over by Bruno Famin. He became Vice President of Alpine Motorsport just earlier this month and his previous experience includes a spell at Renault’s base in Viry-Chatillon, where the engine department of the company is located, a job he took on after leaving the FIA.

The new sporting director, replacing Permane, will be Julian Rouse, who previously was the Alpine Academy director, managing the team’s younger drivers, such as Formula 2 drivers Jack Doohan and Victor Martins, and Formula 3 drivers Nikola Tsolov, Gabriele Mini and Sophia Floersch.

It is possible that the placements of both Famin and Rouse are short-term, as the team is speculated to be looking around for more long-term options. One of the names that have been rumoured is the one of Mattia Binotto, who served as team principal at Ferrari from 2019 until his sacking at the end of last year.

Alpine are losing another member of the team too, as its experienced Chief Technical Officer, Pat Fry, is leaving the squad and will join Williams at the end of this season. His replacement has not yet been announced, but will be in due time.

Alpine have had quite a turnover in the last couple of years, especially after its rebranding from Renault for the start of the 2021 season. It was then that Cyril Abiteboul left the team and his role was taken over by Laurent Rossi and Davide Brivio (who has since also left the team). The French outfit also dismissed the four-time World Champion, Alain Prost, who served as an advisor to the team, while Daniel Ricciardo left and was replaced by Fernando Alonso.

The situation is at least stable for the foreseeable future regarding the drivers, as both Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly are tied with long-term contracts with the team.

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