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F1

Former F1 team boss rolls out innovative app

The new app idea was sparked during Otmar Szafnaur's time in the F1 paddock.

Verstappen start 2024 Bahrain
Interview
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Former Force India, Aston Martin and Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer has launched a new app designed to cut out the hassle associated with travel and event planning.

Szafnauer's idea was sparked during his time at Aston Martin when, in the digital age, he became frustrated at using reams of paper to cover the itinerary for him and his team when travelling to grands prix each season.

Although the idea was never taken up when he later joined Alpine, following his exit from the team last August, Szafnauer decided such a service could be rolled out to serve numerous businesses.

The 59-year-old returned to the paddock last week to pitch his Eventr app idea to the F1, F2 and F3 teams in attendance at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Eventr, part of Szafnauer's Softpauer organisation that is owned and run by technical guru Alex Powell, is described as 'a digital itinerary system designed to simplify corporate events with on-the-go team management and effective communication'.

Speaking to RacingNews365, Szafnauer said: "It (the software) was written for Aston Martin to get rid of the paper itinerary and make things interactive, to be with you on your phone, so you have an app, and you have your itinerary if you're a traveller.

"It's easy because you can search for who is on your flight, and they all pop up, who's in my hire car, my hotel, whereas if you have paper, and we used to have 10 pages of paper for everyone that travels, it's hard to find all that stuff.

"For example, the guys on your flight might not be the guys in your hotel, it's all over the place, so we wrote the software to make it easy for those who travel and for those who booked the travel.

"They used it for a year, liked it, but then when I left, they decided not to use it anymore for whatever reason.

"Then we thought, 'Okay, why don't we build this app out to not just be specific for Aston Martin, or a Formula 1 team, but for a rugby team, football team, whatever."

Szafnauer's talks in Bahrain proved useful as Red Bull, Ferrari, Pirelli, Sky, and a number of F2 teams are looking into the system. Hitech is already a client, and ironically, Szafnauer said Alpine has also downloaded it.

At present, small groups of eight or fewer can use the app for free. Pricing then applies for more than eight.

Szafnauer feels there is considerable scope for the app's use after a suggestion was made to him by his son, who is a golfer with a Division 1 college in the United States.

"There are over 1,000 Division 1 colleges, and every Division 1 college has a football team, a basketball team, an ice hockey team, maybe a rowing team, a lacrosse team, a soccer team, a women's soccer team, a golf team, and a women's golf team," remarked Szafnauer.

"They have all these teams that travel because they play other universities, so my son said, 'I could use this, you should give it to my coach because every one of us on the golf team use this thing (holding up his phone) the whole time. We don't have paper anymore'.

"And he's right, so I gotta hit up all those universities. It's a lot of selling but if you get one, you get two, and the ball starts rolling."

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