In a development that’s come as rather a shock to the world of Formula 1, the Alpine F1 Team has announced that as of 13th January 2022 its Executive Director Marcin Budkowski will be stepping away from his role. According to a statement by the team, CEO Laurent Rossi “will temporarily ensure the team’s management to allow everyone to focus on the next season’s preparation.”
Budkowski had originally joined the team (then under the Renault brand) in October 2017, after a stint as the head of Formula 1’s technical department. His signing attracted a lot of controversy at the time, as he was very close to the FIA and Formula 1 Management due to his previous position and therefore had access to critical details surrounding the 2018 cars.
He was responsible for the day-to-day running and operations of the team and remained there through its transition from Renault to Alpine. Before this, Budkowski had been an aerodynamicist at the Prost Grand Prix team in 2001. He later worked for Ferrari from 2002-2007, McLaren from 2007-2014 (where he ended up becoming the head of the aerodynamics department) and then for Formula 1 from 2014 until leaving to join Renault.
“I would like to thank Marcin Budkowski for his commitment and contribution to the team’s results over the last four years,” Rossi said in the team’s official statement. “The team is fully focused on getting the car ready for the first race in Bahrain and deliver a step beyond in performance.”
“I truly enjoyed being part of the leadership team of Renault then Alpine F1 Team, working with such a talented and dedicated group of people,” said Budkowski. “I will be watching the Teams’ progress fondly in the seasons to come.”
It’s currently unknown as to who will replace him, but there have been several rumours and a report from a French media outlet that suggest that Otmar Szafnauer could be linked to a role within the upper management at the Alpine F1 Team. If those rumours do indeed turn out to be true, Szafnauer would definitely be a suitable candidate to replace the outgoing Budkowski. It’s also unclear where Budkowski will go next, although he has implied through a humorous post on his own Instagram account that he’s on gardening leave for an undisclosed amount of time.