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Otmar Szafnauer during the 2012 Formula One Season.
August 13, 1964
|Alma mater||Wayne State University|
|Occupation||Chief Operating Officer of Sahara Force India|
|Awards||USF2000 Hall of Fame 2013|
He was born in Romania to an American father of German descent and a Romanian mother, but moved to Detroit when he was seven years old.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Wayne State University in Detroit before completing a master's degree in business and finance from the University of Detroit. He joined the Ford Motor Company in 1986. While working for Ford he attended the Jim Russell Racing Driver School and started racing in Formula Ford in 1991. In 1993 he was appointed Programmes Manager for Ford in the U.S.
While working at Ford, he met Adrian Reynard who asked him to become Operations Director at British American Racing in Formula One in 1998. After three years at BAR, he was recruited by Bobby Rahal in 2001 to be Chief Operating Officer at Jaguar Racing, but a week before he was supposed to start Rahal was fired and Szafnauer never joined the team. Several months later, he was hired by Honda, who had made a comeback to Formula 1, to help its engineers.
After leaving Honda in 2008, he founded Soft Pauer, which released the official Formula One Timing and Track Positioning Application on the iPhone in June 2009, before joining Sahara Force India in October 2009.
Szafnauer has played an integral role in Sahara Force India's improved performance since his arrival, with the team finishing seventh in 2010 and sixth in 2011 and 2013. Szafnauer's efforts also played an instrumental role in the team securing a long-term agreement to use the Mercedes-Benz powertrain from the 2014 season onwards.
Awards and recognition
In 2013, Szafnauer was inducted into the USF2000 Hall of Fame in recognition of his racing achievements in motorsport over the last twenty years.
- Executive Profile: Otmar Szafnauer, businessweek.com; accessed June 06, 2014
- Americans in F1: Otmar Szafnauer, crash.net, September 20, 2002; accessed January 10, 2014