From fleeing communist Romania to running an F1 team

From fleeing communist Romania to running an F1 team

From a small village in Romania, Otmar Szafnauer's family fled the communist dictatorship to begin a new life in Detroit in the 1970s. Working in the car industry led to Szafnauer meeting Adrian Reynard, who in 1999 offered him a job at his new BAR team. Ten years later, that experience made him the perfect candidate to run the day-to-day operations of Force India, which has now become Racing Point. Over lunch in Oxford, JAMES ROBERTS hears the extraordinary life story of the man whose love of classic American cars prompted him to convince his father to flee to the United States...

There is a little corner of Oxford inhabited by Formula 1 royalty. The area north of the city, known as Summertown, is where Mercedes chief Toto Wolff resides. McLaren's racing director Gil de Ferran recently lived in the house once owned by Eddie Jordan. And our very own technical consultant Pat Symonds is five doors down from today's interviewee, Otmar Szafnauer.

The Racing Point team principal suggests we meet at his local. The converted boathouse is now a beautiful restaurant on the river, offering punting, fine wine and delicious cuisine. Szafnauer regularly brings friends visiting from the States here, for a taste of unspoiled England.

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