Sergio Perez pleads with F1 teams to give "proper time" after ex-boss loses job

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez thinks F1 teams should give more time to their team principals, following the news that his ex-boss Otmar Szafnauer was sacked by Alpine at the Belgian Grand Prix.
 Otmar Szafnauer Alpine F1 Team, with Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing. Formula 1 World
Otmar Szafnauer Alpine F1 Team, with Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing…

As is often the case with the summer break, the Formula 1 paddock offers twists and turns that not many would anticipate - this time of year has picked up the name ‘silly season’ for that exact reason.

Even still, it came as a shock to the F1 world to see Alpine announce team principal Otmar Szafnauer would be relieved of his duties following the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, just hours before Qualifying began on Friday.

Red Bull driver Perez worked with Szafnauer for the entirety of his time at Force India and Racing Point, and came to his former boss’ defense when discussing his departure this weekend.

“I was quite surprised with it, given how short notice it was”, said Perez. “I think Otmar is great. For any person in that position you have got to give them time. Otmar lacked time to really show his potential which I know is huge, because I’ve seen what he’s done in other teams with very limited budgets, and with not-so limited budgets as well.”

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As suggested by Perez, Szafnauer has shown he can work both with and without money when leading a Formula 1 team. Most notably, he consistently guided Force India to fourth and fifth place finishes in the constructors' championships between 2015 and 2018, despite the team being strapped for cash amidst troubles with owner Vijay Mallya. 

They were then bought by Lawrence Stroll’s consortium following administration, where Szafnauer and co. were able to show what they could do with a healthier budget and the notorious ‘pink Mercedes’ of 2020, which saw them finish just seven points off McLaren in third in the Constructor’s. 

“I think it’s a shame that they let him move on”, added Perez. “I think whoever comes needs to have proper time, because all these things in Formula One takes massive time.”

Szafnaeur made the switch to Alpine from Aston Martin just under 18 months ago. His first and only full season of 2022 saw the French outfit finish fourth in the constructors', ahead of the likes of McLaren and Aston Martin.

Despite this, they have seemingly fallen behind in 2023 given the developments of their rivals, finding themselves sixth and way off the pace of their rivals going into the summer break.

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