Szafnauer went for coffee with Andretti: ‘I told him I would be happy to help him’

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Szafnauer went for coffee with Andretti: 'I told him I would be happy to help him'

Former Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer confirms he has had discussions with Michael Andretti and could have imagined taking a leading role in the Formula 1 team. Andretti actually wanted to join F1 as the eleventh team in 2025, but was told in early February that they had been rejected.

Although a joining is currently off the table, Szafnauer reveals that he could have played a role in the project after being fired by Alpine in the summer of 2023. Things had been going wrong for a while at the French racing team and in the last weekend before the summer break, Szafnauer was fired. Sporting director Alan Permane and CEO Laurent Rossi were also able to pack their things. “I’ve had some conversations with Michael Andretti,” he confirmed to Motorsport.com. “He even called me before I went to Alpine, and I told him I would be happy to help him.”

It is crucial that Andretti gets a place in Formula 1, otherwise Szafnauer cannot join the team. “If they’re accepted, then I can talk about engagement, get them started and get them going,” Szafnauer says. After leaving Alpine, the 59-year-old is currently unemployed in Formula 1, and he would like to move on and put his experience to good use. “I still have five to seven years left in me,” he says. “Maybe I think too highly of myself, but I believe I still have the skills to put together a good team that is competitive in Formula 1.”

Text continues below the photo.

Szafnauer went for coffee with Andretti: 'I told him I would be happy to help him'
Szafnauer was previously team boss of Alpine and before that of Racing Point and Aston Martin. (Photo: Racing Point F1)

Szafnauer hopes to be back in the paddock soon

The former team boss will have to wait a while before he can focus on Formula 1 again. ‘Hopefully I can come back soon. The problem is that I’m a bit impatient,” he admits. Had he somehow started with Andretti, however, patience would have been required. Because just starting from scratch with lots of new people doesn’t work. Even with an established team like Alpine, major changes cannot happen overnight. ‘But the top bosses there wanted to see success faster than was possible. I told them what was possible, but they said there was no time for that.’

In any case, Szafnauer has not held back in his criticism of the Alpine summit. “It seems they don’t understand that it takes time to change a culture and develop new skills that we didn’t have. They simply don’t have the technical skills they need,” he said. ‘And that was the reason for our disagreement. And I received less than ten days’ notice of their decision, which then led to my departure in Belgium.’

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