It will be a fresh start for the Alpine F1 team not only with the new regulations for their 2022 challenger which will be presented in a few days, but for their team management as well.
With Otmar Szafnauer recently announced as the new team principal for the French team, there has also been a significant restructuring with other key roles.
A new direction that Alpine’s Chief Executive Officer Laurent Rossi hopes will blend together to deliver victories and strong results for the upcoming season.
In an exclusive interview with formula1.com, Rossi laid out Alpine’s new management structure for the 2022 season. The Alpine CEO also discussed the key roles that Szafnauer, Executive Director Bruno Famin, and Racing Director Davide Brivio will take on with the team this year.
Szafnauer whose career in F1 dates back to 1998 with notable achievements helping the Force India team which was later named Racing Point and now Aston Martin grow and improve through the course of 12 years from 2009 to 2021, exemplifies the team building and leadership skills that Rossi believes will help blend the team together to create a strong bond.
“The trio [of leaders] we had last year all brought their own skills, Otmar cuts across those three. It's an overlap between us three. A Team Principal does the bonding between the sides," Rossi stated.
“So it's certainly easier for me to streamline because I now have one person that is bringing those skills to the table and people underneath can now fully express their own strength in their own disciplines.”
“I have not spent nearly enough time with [Otmar] because I’ve not been in Formula 1 for 20 years. That said, I’ve followed him and many others as a fan. I know that Otmar did very well with Force India, Racing Point and then Aston, especially at the very beginning given the very limited means he had. He arguably overperformed, overachieved with limited budget and managed to get Racing Point/Force India in fourth position and to get wins and podiums.
“He knows what it takes to build a team. He knows how to get there, so that's quite important. He is a teambuilder and he is a very good person. He will bring the gel that we need, that bonding.
“As the season unfolded, it was clear for me that we needed the profile of a Team Principal and he became free. Obviously I started intensifying my connections to him, so yes, there was way more discussions between us in 2022 than they were in 2021. We converged very quickly towards the possibility of him joining and I’m very glad he’s now joined the team.”
Another significant change for Alpine sees former Deputy Sport Secretary General for the FIA Bruno Famin as the Executive Director for the Enstone based team, with a keen focus running the engine side including new regulations that will take place in 2026. Rossi, looking ahead, emphasized how crucial Famin’s role is for both current and future circumstances.
“So that's exactly why Bruno is critical,” Rossi said.
“Otmar will be running the show, Otmar will be conducting the orchestra and all the musicians at Enstone, Viry and the track, But Viry has a different position. One is work on delivering the right engine at the moment and the right performance when needed. In this respect, Viry is a subsystem of the system. But we also have in Viry preparing for the future of Formula 1 and other activities in other motorsports.”
“Bruno is going to bring the width and understanding that's going to be necessary for Viry to tackle the challenges I mentioned. If you were only to develop one engine for one team, I might have chosen a expert technical profile well-versed in F1 and that's it - and mind you, I have already both profiles in Viry – but here I needed someone who has a much larger perspective on activities and the capability of discussing with the governing body [the FIA] but also influencing because the future regulations are pretty much what we put in there.
“They are very dependent on what you inject as a stakeholder into the conversations and it will be critical in shaping the future of regulations so that we best prepare to be successful in there.”
Former Suzuki MotoGP boss Davide Brivio takes on a different role from his Racing Director one in F1 to developing young drivers for Alpine’s academy. Brivio’s new title as Director of Racing Expansion Projects brings new opportunities outside of F1 that will showcase his knack for developing talent.
“Davide brings a unique expertise in bringing up talent,” Rossi commented.
“We saw that last year. He knows how to speak to two racers. He is a racer. He knows how to grow talent – and it will be crucial for him to continue to do that. And then the other side of the job that's new is a step outside of Formula 1. it makes sense for him being on one hand the grower of talent that could feed into those projects and also a very successful team assembler to us.”