Szafnauer denies risk of losing F1 job

Wed, 26 July 2023, 10:00

Jul.26 (GMM) After horror outings at Silverstone and in Hungary, Alpine should make a two-tenth step forward this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

It was a crash that took the pair out in Hungary, but that was hot on the heels of another double DNF for Frenchmen Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly at Silverstone.

The Renault-owned team subsequently slips to P6 in the constructors’ standings.

“We had no control over these two DNFs,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer, “just as we had no control over the Silverstone DNFs.

“One of them was a failure by a manufacturer that makes components for helicopters and airlines – an industry that rarely fails,” he told DAZN.

“But it failed. So we shouldn’t worry about these things, just focus on what we can control and do a good job.”

There have been ownership and management upheavals at the struggling Enstone based team in recent weeks, and many now see a sword of Damocles hanging over Szafnauer’s head.

“You have to remember that Laurent Rossi is doing special projects now,” said Szafnauer when asked about the security of his job – in light of CEO Rossi’s earlier criticism and now ousting.

“Yes, he hired me, but (Renault CEO) Luca de Meo hired me too, and it was Luca who ultimately sat down with me and convinced me to join his project,” he insisted.

“As we know, Alpine’s project was with the plan of 100 races, and I think we’ve done about 30. So we still have about 60 races left. And it takes time.

“It’s taken time for everyone. I know Luca is a man of his word, and he gave me his word of 100 races to start winning, and sometimes you have to take half a step back to take two forwards.

“Red Bull, who have done pretty well, bought Jaguar, a mid-grid team, and it took them five years to get started at winning.

“It seems that’s what it takes – four to five years. 100 races is a realistic number. In general, stability in this type of team, when you manage between 950 or 1000 people, is very, very important.”

As for those two-tenths, Szafnauer said the laptime gain should come with the introduction of a new floor this weekend in Belgium.

“It’s about two tenths, so we’ll take it there,” said the Alpine team boss.

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