Otmar Szafnauer says he left Aston Martin because of interference from the team owner.
The 57-year-old, who was at the helm throughout the Force India, Racing Point and Aston Martin transition, has switched over the winter to Renault-owned Alpine.
When asked in Bahrain why that happened, Szafnauer answered: “Two Popes is not possible.
“But that was exactly the situation at Aston Martin,” he is quoted by international publications including Sport1.
He didn’t actually name Lance Stroll, but it is clear that he was pointing the finger squarely at the Canadian billionaire who bought the Silverstone based team from Vijay Mallya.
“Vijay used to come to the factory maybe four days a year,” said Szafnauer. “He completely left the work, per se, to us.”
He said the way Stroll operated was starkly different and “didn’t work”, but has no complaint about the “men and women” still at Silverstone.
“In my twelve years there, I more than doubled the size of the team. I will miss all of them,” said Szafnauer.
On the face of it, he may have a point.
Former F1 driver Christian Danner, for instance, believes Sebastian Vettel is “just as far from a win with Aston Martin” as he was a full year ago.
“The team is still in its infancy,” he added, “but I’m not so sure they have invested in the right direction.”
F1 legend Gerhard Berger agrees, telling Servus TV that he is “not convinced” the 2022 car will deliver a significant step forward for Aston Martin.
“Their success will depend primarily on whether they can modify the car and move forward,” he said.
“Only then will Sebastian achieve high results, and then no matter what he also thinks about ecology and sustainability, that will not distract him.”