Ted Kravitz suggests something strange is going on at Alpine

Alpine's motives for announcing Otmar Szafnauer’s exit from in the middle of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend are being questioned.

The unexpected departure of Otmar Szafnauer from Alpine, along with long-standing sporting director Alan Permane and the move of veteran engineer Pat Fry to Williams as their new technical director, has raised eyebrows in the Formula 1 community. 

Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz has openly questioned the curious timing of the announcement and offered a theory on Alpine’s motives for making the move during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

Alpine stunned the paddock by revealing the departure of Szafnauer and Permane during Friday practice at Spa-Francorchamps. 

Following the announcement, Alpine Vice President of Motorsports Bruno Famin was appointed as the interim team principal, further feeling speculation about the sudden changes.

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Kravitz highlighted that Famin had been appointed above Szafnauer a few weeks prior to the announcement, which had already raised suspicions among F1 insiders. 

He questioned why Alpine didn’t announce the news ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix or wait until the summer break to handle the situation discreetly.

“He [Famin] was appointed above Otmar a few weeks ago,” Kravitz said. 

“Now when that happened we all knew something was up, so given that there have been rumors that Otmar’s time as team principal of Alpine was not going to be particularly long, why did they wait until the middle of a grand prix weekend to announce it.”

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Kravitz speculated that there might have been a financial settlement between Szafnauer and Alpine, allowing them to present the departure as a mutual agreement to terminate contracts. 

However, he couldn’t understand why the announcement wasn’t made earlier, avoiding the media frenzy during the race weekend.

“They obviously parted ways, they did a deal where I assume – and we haven’t had this confirmed – there was a financial settlement which allowed them to say it was by mutual agreement that their contracts were terminated,” Kravitz explained. 

“So with that all in place, why not announce it on the Wednesday before we got here so it would have been off the story on Thursday.”

Kravitz then proposed a theory for the timing of the announcement, suggesting that Alpine might have wanted to show decisiveness and strong action in removing elements that were not in line with their goals.

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“Why not do it on Monday? I don’t get it,” he pondered. 

“Unless, they wanted to make the biggest splash possible in showing they’re taking strong action and decisive action in removing elements that are not going to help them get to their goals – that’s the only explanation it could be.”

“They need to be seen, Renault, to be taking decisive action – that’s the only logical conclusion as to why they didn’t do the old summer break press release,” Kravitz added.