Force India has confirmed that Otmar Szafnauer is to take over from Simon Roberts as its new chief operating officer. The Silverstone-based outfit said that Szafnauer would work alongside Roberts at the final two races of the season to ensure a smooth handover, prior to Roberts returning to McLaren.
Team principal Vijay Mallya said: "Otmar was selected by myself in full consultation with McLaren to replace Simon, who has now completed his secondment with Force India.
"We are sad to see Simon go, as he has been a crucial linchpin in the transition to the McLaren and Mercedes drive train and his dedication and professional stewardship has led the team to achieving its first-ever podium in F1.
"However, he was always on secondment and we knew we would have to let him return to the McLaren fold. We are confident that Otmar, with his wealth of F1 experience, will be a worthy successor and will continue the strong upward trend we have seen in the last half of the season."
The news was told to Force India's factory staff at Silverstone on Wednesday, in the presence of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose outfit is a technical partner. Although Roberts is returning to full-time employment at McLaren, where he worked previously, he will continue involvement with Force India from there.
Speaking about the move, Roberts said: "I am sad to leave Force India, a team that has welcomed me and is now achieving real success. I am delighted I will still remain involved in the team from the other side of the fence and look forward to providing all the support both McLaren, Mercedes and Force India require."
Szafnauer, who will have his first race with Force India in Brazil this weekend, said: "Force India is a professional outfit that is now achieving competitive and highly promising results. Simon has set a high standard to continue and I am eagerly anticipating getting stuck in to this latest challenge."