Jul.31 (GMM) There is “fake news everywhere” in Formula 1 these days, according to departing Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
Sunday in Belgium was the Romanian-born American’s last race in the paddock for now, as together with long-serving sporting director Alan Permane he has been ousted with immediate effect.
And according to some, Szafnauer did not even wait around until the chequered flag before leaving the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on Sunday.
“That’s the beauty of Formula 1,” he sarcastically told Sky Deutschland when asked about that. “People just invent things. There’s fake news everywhere.
“I was here the whole time,” Szafnauer insists. “I was on the pitwall, helping with strategy decisions and ensuring we got some good points.”
Ultimately, only Esteban Ocon scored points with his eighth place.
“You need a lot of power on this track and we don’t have that at the moment,” Szafnauer said.
Szafnauer may have been so keen to deny the “fake news” about his premature departure because he now fully intends to try to return to F1 as soon as possible.
“What I’ll miss most is the competition,” said the 58-year-old. “I love fighting others – I’m a fighter.
“But I’ll also miss all the wonderful people I worked with at Alpine.”
It is believed part of Szafnauer’s severance is a non-competition clause for at least a year, meaning the earliest he can return is perhaps in 2025.
When asked about the prospects of a comeback, he answered: “I can’t answer that right now.
“Hopefully it will be soon and in an important role where I can have an impact on a team – where I can put together a great team. Everything I wanted to do at Alpine, but the time was too short.”
Fernando Alonso left Alpine to join Aston Martin this year, but when asked about the latest management chaos at the Renault-owned team he said at Spa-Francorchamps: “I haven’t really paid any attention to it.”