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How Szafnauer had his responsibilities 'taken away' at Aston Martin

Alpine's new Team Principal, Otmar Szafnauer, joined the Enstone-based squad in February after leaving a similar role with Aston Martin, where the American claims his responsibilities were taken away from him.

Alpine Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says he left his previous role at Aston Martin because responsibilities had been taken away from him. Prior to his departure in January, Szafnauer had spent 13 years at the Silverstone-based squad across its previous guises of Racing Point and Force India. The Romanian-born American had assumed the role of Team Principal when Lawrence Stroll bought the financially-troubled outfit in 2018. Szafnauer notably oversaw Sergio Perez's victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, the first win for any incarnation of 'Team Silverstone' since Giancarlo Fisichella triumphed in the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix for Jordan. Szafnauer remained in his role as the team were rebranded as Aston Martin for 2021, but had left by the start of 2022. By this time, Martin Whitmarsh had come on board as CEO of the new Aston Martin Performance Technologies Group, and Szafnauer implied that the former McLaren man's arrival had led to him being marginalised. "It became clear that the management structure was going to be such that I didn't have the influence that I thought I should have, with Martin coming in," Szafnauer told media including RacingNews365.com .

Szafnauer losing influence at Aston Martin

The American said he had been told at the end of last season that he would not have the same level of control that he had previously enjoyed. "[Aston Martin] made it very clear to me that the responsibilities that I used to have before were never given back," said Szafnauer. "[At the Abu Dhabi GP], I was told, 'You used to be able to run the team, but you're not running it anymore'. "I had a contract. So, had the responsibilities not been taken away from me, I would have stayed." Szafnauer also expressed confidence that Alpine would hand him the influence he felt had been taken away from him at Aston Martin. "[I had] discussions with the seniors [at Alpine] who said, 'Look, the reason we want you to come is because of all your experience in F1, and we want you to apply that to Alpine, and help us in our aim to win races'. "When the fellows that are hiring you say that, then you feel very confident that that's what they're hiring you for. They want your experience, so that's why I went with the experience."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Sprint Shootout