Otmar Szafnauer reveals the ugly truth about Alpine

Otmar Szafnauer was fired at the recent Belgian Grand Prix, alongside sporting director Alan Permane.

Ex-Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that he disagreed with the views of Renault CEO Luca de Meo, who wanted to reach targets in an “unrealistic” amount of time.

Just over 18 months after moving from Aston Martin to Alpine, Szafnauer was sensationally fired by the Enstone-based team.

Alpine announced ahead of qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix that Szafnauer and now former sporting director Alan Permane would be leaving after the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, something which shocked the paddock.

Szafnauer was actually seen leaving the venue ahead of the race, following his huge fallout with the side.

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Alpine have endured a mixed season which has been disappointing on the whole, resulting in the huge leadership reshuffle.

It’s seemingly all part of De Meo’s plan, although Szafnauer admits that his plan isn’t correct.

The Romanian-American revealed that he offered De Meo a “very realistic” plan to get Alpine to the top; however, the French side were more interested in taking shortcuts.

“I think the senior management at Renault, the CEO, Luca de Meo, wants, as everyone does in Formula 1, success instantly and unfortunately, that’s not how it works in Formula 1,” Szafnauer told Jason Stein on SiriusXM’s Cars & Culture.

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“So I pointed out to him that it takes time and the process of doing it, what’s required, and having raced for 34 years – and 26 years of it in Formula 1 – I think I speak with a degree of experience when I say ‘this is what it takes to turn a team around’ and they wanted to do it faster than is possible.

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“I couldn’t agree to an unrealistic timeline because if you do that, it’s only a matter of time and everyone gets frustrated, so I laid out a very realistic and possible plan and I think they wanted to shortcut that plan with somebody else.”

Ex-Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is a reported candidate for Szafnauer’s job, which is now being filled by Bruno Famin, vice president of Alpine Motorsports.

He’ll occupy the position temporarily starting at the Dutch Grand Prix, which takes place at the end of August and will mark the conclusion of the summer break.