Otmar Szafnauer on Alpine departure: Unrealistic to target wins, titles before 2026

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SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Otmar Szafnauer confirmed he and Alpine mutually parted ways as he felt the team's new goal of becoming a regular F1 winner before 2026 is unrealistic.

On Friday, Alpine announced Szafnauer and sporting director Alan Permane will leave the team after this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Bruno Famin, newly-appointed VP of Alpine Motorsports, said the pair "were not on the same timeline to recover the level or to reach the level of performance we are aiming for".

On appointment in February 2022, Szafnauer was told he had 100 races - roughly until 2026 - to turn Alpine into a winning team and as recently as Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix the American said he felt confident he would see out that timeframe.

When asked what had changed since that evening, Szafnauer told ESPN: "Well, we had a double DNF in Hungary. Not great, but...

"Anyway. The thing that really changed is I had a timeline in mind for changing the team, making it better.

"That timeline, I thought it was realistic, because I know what it takes. I've done it before. I think some of the senior management at Renault had a shorter timeline in mind."

Szafnauer said F1's recent history shows Alpine, the name Renault rebranded its F1 team to in 2021, has to be patient.

On whether the revised, shorter timeline is an impossible target for Alpine, he said: "I think so.

"I've always said, Mercedes took five years from buying a winning team. Red Bull took five years from buying Jag, which was a pretty solid mid-grid team. It takes time. That's what it takes."

"If you can't reconcile that -- I think one thing, they think another -- it's best to part ways."

Szafnauer confirmed his departure will put him out of F1 until July of 2024, but said he still has something to offer the sport.

"This is what I know. I still think I have good skills in building a team that can perform. I know how to do it I just need to be given the latitude and the time to do it. If somebody needs those skills then I'll stay around."

The Szafnauer and Permane news came just a week after Laurent Rossi was moved out of the CEO role, replaced by Phillipe Krief.