Aston Martin announce exit of team principal Szafnauer

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Otmar Szafnauer has left Aston Martin and is being linked with a move to Alpine (AFP/Jim WATSON)

Otmar Szafnauer has stepped down as team principal of Aston Martin, the Silverstone-based Formula One team announced on Wednesday.

His departure had been mooted during the Brazilian Grand Prix in November but he had denied at the time he had plans to step down.

The 57-year-old American joined the team back in 2009 when it was Force India and was instrumental in navigating it through the financial struggles it faced in 2018 prior to its takeover by Lawrence Stroll.

The team was rebranded as Racing Point for the 2019 season and Aston Martin in 2021.

"We would like to thank him (Szafnauer) for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges," said Aston Martin in a statement.

The team did not name a successor, saying they were "comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure".

Aston Martin, with Sebastian Vettel and Stroll's son Lance at the wheel, finished seventh in last season's 10-team constructors championship.

According to specialist French magazine AutoHebdo, Szafnauer could stay in Formula One to take over the management of the Alpine team.

The 2022 season opens on March 20, with Bahrain providing the first venue for a record schedule of 23 Grands Prix.

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