Aston Martin has announced its Formula 1 team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer has left the team.

Reports surrounding Szafnauer’s future at the Silverstone-based outfit surfaced at the end of last year, when he became linked with a move to rivals Alpine.

When pressed on the matter, Szafnauer was clear he had “no intention” of leaving Aston Martin, citing he had a long-term contract at the team.

But on Wednesday Aston Martin released a statement announcing Szafnauer’s departure and stressed it would be in no rush to consider his future replacement.

“Otmar Szafnauer has left the company and his role at Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 team will be managed within the leadership team until a replacement is appointed,” the team’s statement reads.

“We would like to thank him for the service provided to the team over the past 12 years and wish him well for the future as he will undoubtedly take on new challenges.

“Fortunately, we are led and managed by a strong group of individuals, and we are comfortable to take a little time to explore options before announcing a new team structure.

“The focus of the team is currently on preparing the most competitive car possible for the start of the 2022 season.”

Szafnauer enjoyed a 12-year stint at the team formally known as Force India and Racing Point, playing a major role in its upward trajectory through the 2010s.

It managed to secure back-to-back fourth-placed finishes in 2016 and 2017 under Szafnauer’s leadership, and earned a maiden victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.