Otmar Szafnauer exits the Aston Martin F1 team just over a year into the team’s rebrand and transition led by owner Lawrence Stroll.
Stroll’s wider plans for the team he acquired in its Force India guise, quickly renamed Racing Point, was to make it the Aston Martin works team after his purchase of the automotive giant Aston Martin.
The team had a comparatively tricky 2021 season compared to its race-winning, but controversial, 2020 season. The car dubbed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ which the team were ultimately forced to carry over into 2021 was impacted by the floor and diffuser changes designed to peg the cars back somewhat to protect the tyres.
It ended the season on 77 points, 118 behind its 2020 tally as Racing Point.
Szafnauer is the first high-profile figure to exit the Aston Martin team which continues to expand under Stroll’s leadership.
Last season rumours swirled around the paddock that Szafnauer could exit the team and head down the pit lane to Alpine, as part of a key restructuring period at the Renault works outfit.
Initially Szafnauer fully denied the rumours but over time changed his stance until today’s announcement confirmed his exit – of course there is no confirmation as yet of his next move.
His role at Aston Martin “will be managed within the leadership team until a replacement is appointed.”
“We would like to thank him for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges,” says Aston Martin.
“Fortunately, we are led and managed by a strong group of individuals, and we are comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure.
“The focus of the team is currently on preparing the most competitive car possible for the start of the 2022 season.”