While most of the Formula One spotlight is on the team drivers, there are a crucial bunch of people who play an important role in their team’s success.
The Team Principals are the ones who are in charge of the entire team’s smooth functioning, and while they might not get all the attention, it is a thankless job crucial to any team’s success.
In this article, we take a look at the Team Principals of all ten F1 2023 teams and get to know them a bit better.
Also read: Formula One 2023: Driver Line-ups
Red Bull: Christian Horner
A former racer himself, Christian Horner has been synonymous with Red Bull. Horner, who has been Red Bull’s team boss since the team’s inception in 2005, is the longest-serving Team Principal on the grid along with Franz Tost.
Under Horner’s leadership, Red Bull have won six Drivers’ Championship Titles (Sebastian Vettel 2010–2013; Max Verstappen 2021 and 2022) and five Constructors’ Championship Titles (2010–2013 and 2022).
Prior to joining Red Bull, Horner was the team boss of International Formula 3000 team Arden International Motorsport.
Ferrari: Frédéric Vasseur
Ferrari’s new team boss Vasseur started his motorsports career in 1996, when he founded the ASM team in the Formula 3 series. The ASM team found considerable success before Vasseur, along with Nicolas Todt, formed the ART Grand Prix team in 2004, which took part in the GP2 series.
Vasseur moved to Formula One in 2016, joining as the Team Principal of Renault, but left the team at the end of the season. He then joined Sauber as their Team Principal, CEO and Managing Director in July 2017 and remained in the role until December 2022, when he was announced as the Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari.
Mercedes: Toto Wolff
After a short stint with Williams Racing, Toto Wolff joined Mercedes as their Team Principal in 2015, replacing Paddy Lowe. Wolff, who is also a board member of the Mercedes team, has revolutionised the team as the German oversaw Mercedes’ untouchable dominance during the turbo-hybrid era.
Wolff has seen eight Drivers’ Titles (Lewis Hamilton 2014, 2015, 2017-2020; Nico Rosberg 2016) and eight Constructors’ Titles (2014–2021).
McLaren: Andrea Stella
An Italian engineer, Stella started his Formula One career in 2000 with Ferrari, joining the team as a Performance Engineer for their test team. In 2002, he was promoted to Performance Engineer of Michael Schuamcher, a role in which he remained till Schumacher’s retirement in 2006. He then served as Kimi Räikkönen’s Performance Engineer between 2007 and 2008 before becoming his Race Engineer in 2009. He continued on with the same role for Fernando Alonso between 2010 and 2014.
Stella left Ferrari and joined McLaren in 2015 as Head of Race Operations. He then moved to Performance Directorship in 2018 and Racing Directorship in 2019. Stella remained in that role until December 2022, when he was announced as McLaren’s Team Principal, replacing Andreas Seidl.
Aston Martin: Mike Krack
Krack started his motorsport career with BMW in 1998, joining the team as a Test Engineer. He left the role to join Sauber in 2001, joining as a Data Analysis Engineer, before becoming Felipe Massa’s Race Engineer in 2003. Krack remained with the team and served as their Chief Engineer until 2009.
Following that, Krack worked with Kolles & Heinz Union and Hitech in Formula 3 before re-joining BMW as Chief Engineer of their DTM department in 2010. Krack joined Porsche in 2012, becoming their Head of Track Engineering for their World Endurance Championship. He joined BMW again in 2014, serving as their Senior Performance Engineer, and remained with them till 2022, when he was announced as the Team Principal of Aston Martin.
Alpine: Otmar Szafnauer
Szafnauer started his career with Ford Motor Company in 1986, joining as the Programmes Manager for Ford in the USA before leaving them to become Operations Director for the British American Racing in F1 in 1998. He remained in that role until 2001, when Honda signed him as the Vice President of Honda Racing Developments and also as a member of the Management Board of the Honda Formula One team. Szafnauer left Honda in 2008 and joined Force India in 2009.
Szafnauer remained with Force India and served as their Team Principal even when they were rebranded as Racing Point and then bought over by Aston Martin. He left the team in 2022, joining Alpine as their Team Principal.
Alfa Romeo: Alessandro Alunni Bravi
Bravi has previously served as a Managing Director and Team Manager of Formula 3000 International team Coloni Motorsport between 2002 and 2003. Bravi joined WRC Rally team Italia Sardinia as General Manager before serving as GP2 Series’ team Trident Racing’s Team Principal and Managing Director in 2005.
Bravi joined the Sauber Group in 2017 and was a Board Member and General Counsel before being appointed as Managing Director in 2022. Ahead of the 2023 season, Bravi was appointed as the Team Representative for the Alfa Romeo team and is the only one on the grid who doesn’t have an official Team Principal tag.
Haas: Guenther Steiner
Steiner began his motor-racing career way back in 1986, when he started off as a mechanic in the World Rally Championship for the Mazda Rally Team Europe. He shifted to Italian team Top Run Motorsport in 1989, joining as the Assistant Team Manager, before moving to World Rally Championship team Jolly Club in 1991, serving as the Head of Reconnaissance and Technical Manager till 1996.
Between 1997 and 2000, Steiner worked with Prodrive’s Allstar Rally Team and M-Sport before moving to the Ford World Rally Team in 2000, joining the team as Director of Engineering. He then moved to Formula One in 2001, joining Jaguar Racing as their Team Principal. Steiner was with the team until 2003, when he was replaced by the top management.
Jaguar was bought by Red Bull in 2004, and Steiner re-joined them as Technical Operations Director in early 2005. He also served as Red Bull’s NASCAR team Team Red Bull’s technical director between 2006 and 2008 before starting his own manufacturing firm, Fibreworks Composites, in early 2009.
For the next couple of years, Steiner looked at opportunities to return to Formula One with an American team, and when Gene Haas announced that Haas would be joining the grid in 2016, Steiner was announced as their Team Principal in 2014. Since then, Steiner has remained at his position of Team Principal with the American Formula One team.
Williams: James Vowles
The main Mercedes strategist during the turbo-hybrid era, Vowles was announced as Williams’ Team Principal in January 2023. He replaced Jost Capito as Williams’ team boss and is only their third-ever Team Principal.
One of the sport’s most iconic and celebrated teams, Williams will be hoping Vowles help them return to the front of the grid.
AlphaTauri: Franz Tost
Former Austrian racing driver Franz Tost has been the Team Principal of AlphaTauri since 2005. The team that were previously known as Scuderia Toro Rosso were acquired by Red Bull in the same year, and Tost left Williams to join and lead the sister Red Bull team.
The 2023 season will be Tost’s 19th season as the AlphaTauri Team Principal. He is one of the longest-serving Team Principals on the grid, having been with the team since 2005.