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Why Otmar Szafnauer is inspired by Monaco GP

Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly both finished in the top five in the only representative practice session on Friday at the Hungarian GP

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Team principal Otmar Szafnauer says he is looking back to Alpine‘s performance at the Monaco Grand Prix to have a strong weekend at the 2023 Hungarian GP in Budapest.

A shock qualifying result saw Esteban Ocon set the fourth fastest time in Monaco, before the Frenchman was promoted to third following a grid penalty for Charles Leclerc.

Ocon then brilliantly controlled the field behind him, repelling challenges from Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton to take Alpine‘s first podium in 18 months.

With lots of medium-to-high speed corners at the Hungaroring, Alpine could find themselves competing towards the front of the field again to have a chance of scoring major points in their constructors’ championship battle with McLaren.

“There are certain tracks that suit our entire package a little bit better and this is one of those tracks, Monaco is another one,” Szafnauer said to the media. “We also qualified well in Barcelona for example.

“That didn’t quite go our way with some of the penalties that Pierre [Gasly] accumulated, but yeah, this is a track that should suit us.”

Management shake-up not affecting the F1 team

Alpine announced a change of upper-management within the company. Phillippe Krief, previously of Ferrari, replaced Laurent Rossi as CEO ahead of the Hungarian GP.

Rossi had been CEO since January 2021, and Alpine scored three podiums during his tenure, including a memorable win at the Hungarian GP, as Esteban Ocon evaded Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton to take his maiden Formula 1 victory.

But earlier in 2023, Rossi had slammed his team, accusing them of lacking desire and effort to improve the car after a challenging start to the campaign.

A press release from Alpine said that Rossi will not focus on ‘special projects’, and will report to the CEO of the Renault Group, which owns the F1 team, Luca de Meo.

Phillippe Krief replaced Laurent Rossi as CEO of Alpine | Alpine F1 Team

The second change is the addition of Bruno Famin, who will now report to Krief, asvVice president of Alpine Motorsports. Famin gains management over the direction of Alpine in F1 but Szafnauer does not expect many changes to the operation.

“It shouldn’t have an impact whatsoever,” Szafnauer added. “I’ve been there for about a year and a half now and the plans that I’ve already put in place, we’re going to continue.

“To pursue the infrastructure that we’ve embarked on, and we’re continuing to pursue some of the hires that we’re looking for some like minded individuals.

“It’s not really that big of a change. On the corporate side, there’s a new CEO of Alpine whose focus will be Alpine cars and not F1.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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