Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner says he expects ex-Alpine Sporting Director Alan Permane to return to Formula 1 at some stage.
It was announced during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend that Permane and Alpine team boss Otmar Szafnauer would be stepping down from their roles.
While Szafnauer had only arrived ahead of the 2022 campaign, Permane had been a long-serving fixture in the Enstone side’s ranks for the past 34 years.
The 56-year-old had overseen its title successes under the guise of Benetton and Renault whilst also helping to steer the team through its plight into perilous financial trouble in 2015 when it was known as Lotus.
Amid a tough season, Permane mutually agreed to part ways with Alpine – but Horner suspects that’s not the final time he will be seen in an F1 role in some capacity.
“I don’t want to be drawn into commenting about other teams, they’ve obviously had their own reasons for making their own changes,” Horner said regarding Alpine’s situation.
“The only one I would highlight – I think that Otmar is a good guy but I think that everyone who has worked with Alan Permane or Bat as he’s known up and down the pit lane, I think there has to be respect shown for someone who’s put in 34 years graft and been involved in world championships with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso and has been a steady hand during periods of that team going virtually into administration, out of administration, different ownerships and he’s very much been a constant there during that period and I think that deserves respect and recognition and I think he’s a guy like Otmar who won’t – absolutely won’t be the last you see of him in the pit lane I can assure you of that.”
Bruno Famin has been named Interim Team Principal following Szafnauer’s exit, with Alpine Academy Director Julian Rouse assuming the role of Interim Sporting Director.
Along with Permane and Szafnauer, former Alpine Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry also departed as he elected to take up the same position at the Williams team. The ex-McLaren and Ferrari engineer has been replaced internally by Matt Harman.
Alpine currently languish sixth in the Constructors’ Championship at the summer break, 46 points behind McLaren.
The Renault-owned squad previously outlined ambitions ahead of the season it was aiming to consolidate the fourth position it secured last year.
However, its A523 car has fallen short of expectations, only accumulating 57 points across the opening 12 rounds.