Site logo

Szafnauer: We're not looking for headline names

NEWS STORY
06/06/2020

Racing Point team boss, Otmar Szafnauer, says it is the name above the factory doors next season that is more important than "headline" name drivers.

Referring to the Silverstone-based outfit's transition to Aston Martin, Szafnauer insists that this is the big story, as he effectively kills off any talk of a move for Sebastian Vettel before it even begins.

"It's certainly been an interesting few weeks in the driver market, with some headline-grabbing moves out there," said the Romanian-American. "I'm sure it's kept the fans entertained and the media busy. But from our perspective, the headline for next season is the name above the factory doors rather than the names in the cockpit.

In a wide-ranging team Q&A he talks about a range of issues including the budget cap, ongoing talks with F1 bosses and the FISA over the sport's future, and, of course, the pandemic and how it has impacted the sport.

"While the shutdown has been lifted, we're by no means taking anything for granted," he said, as the teams come out of enforced hibernation due to the virus. "So, it's not business as usual, it's business tailored to the new normal we now find ourselves in.

"We must continue to be vigilant in our effort to curtail further the spread of the virus - protecting the health and wellbeing of our teammates and those around us in the process. The situation continues to evolve and we're ready to adapt as required."

Asked how much work has gone into preparing the factory - and the business - for the return of the workforce, he says: "A huge amount of work has been carried out to prepare both our Silverstone factory and Brackley offices for a return to work, we've gone above and beyond the government advice in making our factory a safe place to work.

"We obviously need to adapt to a new way of working and we believe the measures we've put in place will ensure that everybody can work safely and efficiently.

"We're taking all necessary measures to reduce any likelihood of exposure to the virus. It's a long list, implementing specific entry and exit routes, testing and temperature checks, provision of PPE, staggered start, finish and break times, and so on. We're also continuing to follow government guidelines by only asking those employees who cannot do their jobs remotely to return to the factory. By initially limiting the number of staff on site, we can make the environment safer for those who do need to come in.

"Seeing the factory re-open is a boost for everybody," he continues, "and an important step closer to going racing again in July. Obviously, we're all keen to get back to doing what we love - but keeping our teammates safe and our facilities free from coronavirus is the absolute priority.

"A great deal of time, thought, and effort has gone into achieving that goal and will continue to do so. To those involved in that process, I extend my deepest gratitude. To those returning, I recognise their commitment as always and assure them that we're doing everything in our power to keep them and their loved ones safe and healthy."

Asked how pleased he is to be getting out on track, he pays tribute to Formula One Management.

"First and foremost, on a personal level and on behalf of the team, I applaud the work that has been done by all stakeholders over the past three months to get us back racing.

"Safety is paramount and we're all treating our return to the racetrack responsibly. While clearly it won't be the same without the fans in the grandstands - and we'll sorely miss their enthusiasm and support - it's entirely sensible to start the season behind closed doors. Doing so in Austria is particularly positive for us as a team given our ties to the country with BWT, so we're very much looking forward to it.

"It's going to be an intense few months for us all," he admits. "But a great deal of thought has gone into this calendar from all relevant stakeholders - including the teams, Formula 1, the FIA, the circuit owners and so on. We're all in agreement that the proposed plan is manageable and, knowing what I know of our team, they'll relish the challenge. At the end of the day, we're all racers. This is our passion and we're excited to get back to it.

"It's going to feel strange for all of us to be getting on an aeroplane, flying to a different country and heading to a racetrack after such a long time away," he admits. "The set-up when we get to the paddock will feel very different too initially, I'm sure. But just as we've all adapted to this new normality at home, I'm confident we'll do so on the road. The processes and procedures we've implemented to keep everybody safe at the factory will apply just as stringently, if not more so, at the racetrack, so we're in the best shape we can be."

While the race tracks have been silent, the factories shut down and (most) staff furloughed, talks over the sport's future have continued, with some significant developments for the sport emerging from the latest World Motorsport Council meeting.

"Absolutely," he says. "I believe the decisions we've reached as a collective between the teams, Formula 1 and the FIA have put the necessary processes in place to make the sport more financially sustainable and do so over a timescale that's achievable for everybody. Ultimately, it's in all our interests to keep all the teams in business and to continue providing great racing for the fans."

Asked if he is confident that his team can achieve even more than it already has with a theoretically more level playing field under the new cost cap, he says: "We've always enjoyed that underdog reputation and we've made some fantastic memories along the way.

"Now, though, we're looking to the future and building a new legacy worthy of the Aston Martin name. These new financial rules give every team a more equal shot at achieving their potential and that can only be a positive thing for the sport. The future looks bright and our absolute aim is to be at the very sharp end of that future."

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Superbird70, 06/06/2020 16:06

"It might be time to promote a female driver."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Nortim, 05/06/2020 21:30

"Get Vettel and Alonso! LOL"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2020. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms