Alonso turned down the chance to extend his stay at Alpine by taking an offer to join Aston Martin on a “multi-year” deal that will take him through at least the end of the 2024 season.
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Heading into this season’s summer break, Alpine is fourth in the world championship with 99 points, compared to the 20 ranked ninth by Aston Martin.
Szafnauer, who was team principal of the Silverstone outfit until early this year, is confident that Alpine will stay ahead of its regular rival.
“I know both teams well,” he said.
“I think I know [them]because I spent 12 years with the other team, better than I know any individuals here so far.
“And I know that since I left in December, they’ve hired a little more people, some of whom I did some of the recruiting, including Dan Fallows and Eric Blandin from Mercedes. So I know what they’re trying to do.
“And I know the people out there, and I know this team here, and both teams have great potential.
“But as we are here today, this team is performing at a much higher level. It’s hard to predict the future, but in the near future this team will definitely continue to perform at that level, if not better.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1
Photo By: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
While Aston’s search for key tech people has been widely publicized, Szafnauer says Alpine itself is expanding.
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“We have an internal program called Mountain Climber, which is to hire 75 additional people in strategic areas that will help improve the capabilities of this team,” he said.
“And in addition to the 75 people, there are also tools that we are improving now, some simulation tools, a new simulator, expanded production capacity, some upgrades to our wind tunnel, all with the focus on winning 100 races.
“Those things still happen here and they move fast. We are already at a level of 850 people here.
“So I am confident that we can surpass the team Fernando is going to in the time he will be there.”