By Chris King •
Updated: 28 Jul 2023 • 16:51
Image of the Chinese GP in 2017.
Credit: Ev. Safronov/Shutterstock.com
IN an incredible move this Friday, July 28, the BWT Alpine F1 team has fired two top officials in the middle of the Belgian Grand Prix.
The German team principal Otmar Szafnauer – previously with Aston Martin – and Alan Permane, their sporting director for 34 years, will both leave the team after this weekend’s race at the notorious Spa-Francorchamps circuit is over.
An official statement released by the team read: ‘BWT Alpine F1 Team announces today it will part ways with Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer by mutual agreement following the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix’.
‘Otmar will continue his duties as normal for this weekend’s race in Belgium, before leaving the team ahead of the summer break’.
‘The team would like to thank Otmar for his hard work over the past 18 months and for leading the team in achieving fourth place in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship. The team wishes him the best for the future’.
‘The team can also confirm it will part ways with Sporting Director Alan Permane by mutual agreement. Alan will also continue his role this weekend in Belgium before departing ahead of the summer break’.
‘After 34 distinguished years at Enstone, the team extends its thanks to Alan and wishes him the best in his future endeavours. The team also announces that Pat Fry will leave the team to continue his career in Formula 1 elsewhere’.
‘Bruno Famin, VP, Alpine Motorsports, will assume the role of Interim Team Principal of BWT Alpine F1 Team from the Dutch Grand Prix onwards’.
‘Current Alpine Academy Director Julian Rouse is named Interim Sporting Director, with Matt Harman leading the technical team at Enstone. Both Julian and Matt will report to Bruno Famin’.
Alpine has struggled to gain any foothold in races so far this season. Earlier this month, they also replaced CEO Laurent Rossi with Philippe Krief.
Based at Enstone in Oxfordshire, the team has fallen down the constructor’s championship after an excellent fourth-placed finish last season. However, its new all-French lineup of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly has failed to make any impact so far in this campaign.
Mattia Binotto, the former Ferrari boss is tipped to replace Otmar Szafnauer in charge of Alpine eventually. The team has also lost its experienced designer Pat Fry who accepted an offer from Williams to be their new chief technical officer.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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