Szafnauer, having served as team leader for 18 months, saw his last weekend with Alpine at Spa. His departure was announced on the preceding Friday, and he will be replaced temporarily by Bruno Famin, who also serves as Alpine’s VP of motorsport.
Following the race on Sunday, Szafnauer bid an emotional goodbye to his team in the garage and motorhome, heading to the airport thereafter. His tenure is officially set to end on Monday.
“Personally, I’ll be fine,” he told F1 Flow.com just before leaving the race area. “My only concern is for the exceptional men and women at Enstone and Viry who work tirelessly and perform exceptionally. I anticipate a bright future for them.
“I was beginning to hit my stride, getting to know everyone, learning how to inspire them. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, and I felt I was on the cusp of elevating the tide.
“It was not so much about me, but others were shedding tears and bidding farewell. I reassured them, ‘I’m still here, I haven’t passed away! I’ll be just fine.’”
Pierre Gasly, Alpine A523, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23
Photo by: Steven Tee / F1 Flow Images
Szafnauer capped off his term with an impressive weekend for the team at Spa, following dual retirements at both Silverstone and Hungaroring.
Pierre Gasly managed to clinch third place in Saturday’s sprint, but unfortunately fell behind in Sunday’s main race due to getting stuck behind Oscar Piastri’s damaged McLaren at the outset, though he did rally to end up 11th.
Concurrently, Esteban Ocon made an impressive surge from 14th on the grid to eighth at the finish, closing just a second behind Lando Norris’s McLaren.
“With a few more laps, it seemed we were closing in on Lando,” noted Szafnauer. “Our performance was commendable. We demonstrated this yesterday [Saturday] as well, with Pierre securing third place.
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“An overall excellent race, marred only by Pierre’s early bottleneck behind Piastri, causing him to fall back significantly.
“He was essentially running 18th for a significant portion of the race. His comeback to the 11th position and nearly making it further was impressive.
“With a podium finish in the sprint and good points in Spa, coupled with a head-to-head with McLaren. Just two races ago, people were speculating they would clinch the world championship, and here we were, neck and neck with them.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Szafnauer’s Departure
Who is replacing Szafnauer at Alpine F1?
Bruno Famin, who also serves as Alpine’s VP of motorsport, will be replacing Szafnauer on an interim basis.
When did Szafnauer announce his departure from Alpine F1?
Szafnauer announced his departure from Alpine F1 on the Friday preceding his last race weekend at Spa.
What was Szafnauer’s parting message to his team?
Szafnauer expressed his concern for the men and women at Enstone and Viry, praising their hard work and hoping for a bright future for them. He reassured them that he would be fine.
How did Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon perform at Spa in Szafnauer’s final race?
Pierre Gasly finished third in Saturday’s sprint but faced challenges on Sunday, finishing 11th. Meanwhile, Esteban Ocon went from 14th on the grid to eighth in the race.
What was Szafnauer’s overall impression of the team’s performance at Spa?
Szafnauer was pleased with the team’s performance, especially considering the solid sprint podium finish and good points won at Spa. Despite some challenges, he was encouraged by their fight with McLaren.