F1: Alonso signs “multi-year” deal with Aston Martin from 2023
Fernando Alonso has shocked the world of F1 by signing with Aston Martin from 2023 reports Rhonan Colquhoun:
Two-time World champion and current Alpine driver Fernando Alonso will move to Aston Martin on a “multi-year” deal with the Spaniard partnering Lance Stroll from 2023.
Just two days after his 41st birthday and less than 24 hours since his eighth place finish at the Hungarian GP, Fernando Alonso shocked the F1 Paddock by revealing that he will be moving to Aston Martin.
Alonso will replace retiring Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel and partner Lance Stroll at the British outfit.
As a winner of 32 Grand Prix, Alonso is one of the sport’s most talented and tenacious drivers’ and with an F1 racing career spanning back to his debut in 2001, the Spaniard has a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Currently, Alonso lies 10th in the championship on 81 points with a best result of fifth at the British GP.
Why has Alonso left Alpine?
Sources have suggested that Alpine have been blindsided by Alonso’s decision. The French outfit had been in serious negotiations with the Spaniard up until the Hungarian GP. However, it was clear that both sides were wanting different outcomes from the negotiations.
Alpine were prepared to offer Alonso a package deal; with a one-year extension to stay in F1 then transforming into a seat in the manufacturers’ World Endurance Championship for 2024.
The reasoning for only offering Alonso a one-year extended stay is due to the team’s incredibly talented reserve driver who is current F2 Champion Oscar Piastri. Behind Alpine’s thinking, Piastri would have been a good replacement for Alonso when the Spaniard called time at the end of 2023.
Alonso however only has his eyes set on remaining in F1 for a longer period of time of more than a year as he recently admitted that he’s been driving at his “highest ability” since the 2012 F1 Season where he dragged his under-performing Ferrari into title contention. Having already won the 24hr of Le Mans twice, Alonso has already achieved one of his personal goals and potentially sees racing there again not as valuable as racing in F1.
Another reason why Alonso has left Alpine was made clear in his statement about joining Aston Martin. Come the end of this year, Alonso will have been with Alpine for two seasons and despite making small gains, the team are only challenging McLaren for fourth.
In his statement, Alonso said: “I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed.” This nod to Aston Martin’s improving facilities is actually a punt to Alpine’s ability to challenge the top three teams this season and their placing for the future.
And why has he moved to Aston Martin?
With Alonso and Alpine unable to meet their own goals during some negotiations, Vettel’s retirement announcement came at the perfect timing.
With Alonso being at the top of the list of drivers to replace the German, talks are reported to have happened very quickly for the team to announce that Alonso will join only five days after Vettel’s announcement.
Currently on paper, Alpine are the better performing team with 79 more points than Aston Martin so, from this point of view, many see it as a backwards step for the Spaniard.
Despite having a couple of rough seasons after being branded as Aston Martin for 2021, the team are sacrificing the short-term and putting all of their effort into building the team into a title-contending machine in the future.
Alonso fits Aston Martin’s requirements as a driver with a wealth of experience, prestige and ability and the team fits Alonso’s needs by providing him with a deal worth a good paycheck and a couple more years of competing in the sport.
The Implications for Alpine and the Rest of the Grid
With Frenchman Esteban Ocon signed up until the end of 2024, Alpine are now proposing to fast-track Oscar Piastri into the team sooner than expected. With no previous F1 experience, Alpine have been rumoured to have been in talks with Williams into getting Piastri a seat for 2023.
Stepping into an improving Williams team, most likely alongside Alexander Albon instead of Nicholas Latifi, would have been a solid placing for the young Australian.
Rumoured potential talks may have also taken place with McLaren with Daniel Ricciardo’s future hanging in the balance.
However, despite it only being a few hours since Alonso’s shock news, it looks increasingly likely that Piastri will be signed on at Alpine as the Spaniard’s replacement.
This means that Daniel Ricciardo is therefore increasingly likely to stay at McLaren alongside Lando Norris. It also potentially rules out Mick Schumacher moving elsewhere on the grid and solidifies his place at Haas.
The other team which may be impacted is Williams who are likely to re-sign Alexander Albon but not Nicholas Latifi. There are two front-running candidates for that second seat; Defending Formula E Champion Nyck de Vries and current F2 racer Logan Sargeant.
Dutchman de Vries has been waiting in the wings for what seems like an age to be given a seat in the sport and with his Mercedes links, he drove the FW44 in Practice for the Spanish GP.
American Sargeant is a member of the team’s Driver Academy and has been since October last year. He currently lies third in the F2 Championship and made history by becoming the first American to win a race in the series early in July.