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Szafnauer under pressure at Alpine: 'We don't have a Red Bull here'

Szafnauer under pressure at Alpine: 'We don't have a Red Bull here'

26 May - 20:17


Laurent Rossi, Alpine's CEO, was absolutely clear about it recently: his team needed to perform better, and preferably soon. With a ninth (Pierre Gasly) and tenth place (Esteban Ocon) during the second free practice, there was little sign of huge progress in Monaco yet. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer is thus under pressure, although he himself wants to know little about it.

Like everyone else, Szafnauer had to read in the media how critical Rossi was of his Alpine. Szafnauer's name was not explicitly mentioned by the CEO, but everyone realises that the American, as chief executive, is the first to get into trouble if performance continues to disappoint. Szafnauer himself seems to have little to do with that.

'So there is pressure'

Speaking at the F1 team press conference in Monaco, he said, "I've been there just over a year now and I spent the first six, seven, eight months assessing deeply as to the team, the structure, how it operates, how it functions, the good, the bad, the different. And I have a good understanding. I've been doing this for 25 years at a very senior level and know what it takes to move a team from, say, last to fourth or mid-grid to second. So I have an understanding and the plans are in place. So added pressure."

But waking up to a possible dismissal? "Look, it's Formula One. We put pressure on ourselves if we're not winning. And we all do. So I think everybody in this room, we don't have a Red Bull here. Red Bull are happy and the rest of us are working hard to catch them."

Does Szafnauer have decision-making power?

Of Fernando Alonso's departure to Aston Martin, Szafnauer was initially unaware, although the Spaniard had made it known to Alpine's management in good time. At, say, a team like Red Bull Racing, it could not happen that Christian Horner was unaware of the departure of one of his drivers.

At Alpine, at least, it was a sign that Szafnauer is not involved in everything, although he is thus responsible. He himself said: "The structure is a little bit different than what I'm used to in the past. From a technical perspective, we do make the decisions and we need to put the tools in place, the right people in place in order for success so we're working on that," said the American, confirming that he does not have the decision-making authority in all areas within the F1 team.

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