Sergio Perez speaks out as Mattia Binotto linked to Alpine

Sergio Perez worked with sacked Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer when racing for Force India/Racing Point.

Sergio Perez has admitted that it’s a “shame” that Alpine have chosen to sack Otmar Szafnauer as team principal, with the Red Bull driver noting that the Romanian-American “lacked time to really show his potential”.

It was announced by the Enstone-based team ahead of qualifying last Friday at the Belgian Grand Prix that Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane would be leaving after the weekend, with Szafnauer having later been seen leaving the track before the race even started.

Bruno Famin has stepped in as interim-team boss, until a replacement has been confirmed.

Ex-Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is a rumoured contender for the position, which would see him return to the pinnacle of motorsport.

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Perez worked with Szafnauer whilst he was the team principal at Force India, who later became known as Racing Point and are now called Aston Martin.

When known as Force India, the side gained a reputation for being a small team with a big punch, as they often delivered exceptional results despite a minimal budget.

Szafnauer was the side’s leader, with Perez having been their star driver.

Because of this, the Red Bull driver knows what Szafnauer is capable of, which makes him even more surprised that Alpine decided to sack him after just 18 months.

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“Yeah, I was quite surprised with it, given how short notice it was,” Perez told media, including RacingNews365.

“I think Otmar is great. For any person in that position, you’ve got to give them time.

“I think Otmar lacked time to really show his potential, which I know is huge because I’ve seen what he’s done in other teams with very limited budgets, and with not-so-limited budgets as well.

“It is a shame that they let him move on. But whoever comes needs to have proper time, because all these things in Formula 1 take massive time.”

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Alpine actually scored good points at Spa-Francorchamps, with Pierre Gasly having remarkably finished third in the sprint race last Saturday.

Gasly failed to score points in the actual race, whereas Esteban Ocon clinched P8.

Despite Alpine’s positive weekend points wise, they remain sixth in the standings.