Alonso has turned down the chance to extend his stay at Alpine by accepting an offer to join Aston Martin on a “multi-year” deal that takes him at least until the end of the 2024 season.
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Heading into this season’s summer break, Alpine sit fourth in the world championship with 99 points, to ninth-placed Aston Martin’s 20.
Szafnauer, who was team principal at Silverstone until the start of this year, is confident that Alpine will continue to stay ahead of its traditional rival.
“I know both teams well,” he said.
“I think I know [them]because I spent 12 years on the other team better than I know all the individuals here yet.
“And I know that since I left in December they have hired other people, who I helped recruit, including Dan Fallows and Eric Blandin from Mercedes. So I know what they’re trying to do.
“And I know the people who are there, and I know this team here, and both teams have great potential.
“But as we sit here today, this team is performing at a much higher level. It’s hard to predict the future, but in the near future for sure this team will continue to perform at this level. level, if not better.
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
While Aston’s headhunting for key technicians has been well publicized, Szafnauer says Alpine is undertaking its own expansion.
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“We have an internal program called Mountain Climber, and that’s to hire an additional 75 people in strategic areas that will help improve the capabilities of this team,” he said.
“And with the 75, there are also tools that we’re improving now, simulation tools, a new simulator, increased manufacturing capacity, upgrades to our wind tunnel, all with the goal of being able to earn 100 races.
“These things are still happening here and they are happening fast. We are already at a level of 850 people here.
“So I’m confident that we can outperform the team that Fernando is going to join, during the time he’s there.”