Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Aston Martin “seemed to really want me” compared to Alpine – Alonso

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he grabbed the opportunity to join Aston Martin as the team appeared more eager to sign him than Alpine.

The two-times world champion said Aston Martin called him soon after Sebastian Vettel confirmed he intended to retire from Formula 1.

“I had this possibility, I had the phone call from Aston Martin after Sebastian announced he was stopping at the end of the year, so at that point we sat down and we got to this agreement,” said Alonso ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Aston Martin is scaling up its operation rapidly as it aims to become a championship-contending team within five years. Alonso said “the project is very attractive.”

“Obviously there is a lot of investment going on in the last few years,” he continued. “A lot of new people came to the team – very talented engineers, designers, new facilities at Silverstone. So I felt that it was a nice project for the future.

“They were extremely happy to join forces and to have this possibility to grow up together and we felt it was the right thing to do.”

He didn’t expect to get the opportunity to join Aston Martin. “Everything started when Sebastian announced the retirement,” Alonso explained. “I think Aston was waiting for that decision.

“They were happy with Sebastian to continue one more year. And then Seb decided to stop and they started calling some drivers that they were interested in. I was one of those and I was still available.”

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Once they began discussing terms, Alonso and Aston Martin reached a deal quickly. “We started talking on that weekend, briefly, about the conditions that I was expecting, about what they were expecting from me as well.

“We met quite quickly on our expectations and fulfilled all our wishes and on Monday morning we signed and we decided to announce quite quickly before any leak.”

Alonso said he would have been happy to stay at Alpine had the opportunity to join Aston Martin not appeared. “That was my intention and I was not hiding that as well,” he explained. “Every press conference that I did so far this year, I was quite clear that I was happy with the progress that we are making as a team.

“It has been an incredible journey for me to come back into the sport with Alpine, which I consider my team, my family. We won so many things together and that will be part of our history.”

However Alonso admitted he and Alpine were “not moving forward for a couple of months already” in their discussions over a contract for him to continue driving for the team in 2023 and beyond.

“We were moving around in different things and we were maybe not agreeing on the principle,” he explained. “It’s not only what you agree in terms of duration of the contract, it’s also the trust that you feel and how you feel wanted in a place, and if it was just a temporary thing or just facts and a [lap] time that they are happy with.

“It was always a strange feeling and I felt it was the right decision to move to Aston because they seemed to really want me and appreciated every performance that I was put in the last few years.”

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Alonso expected Alpine would take up the chance to replace him with reserve driver Oscar Piastri, though he has subsequently announced he will not drive for them.

“It seems that there was a logical move to me because Aston was very willing to have me and trust in my abilities on the track and off-track as well to develop the project,” Alonso said. “In my case, also, it felt that after all the negotiations and demands, having the the seat available for for a younger driver and talented driver like Oscar, it was the right thing to do and a win-win situation it seemed for everybody.”

While he admitted he can’t be certain his latest career move will prove the correct decision, Alonso believes Aston Martin has the correct ingredients to success in F1.

“For sure there are some risks in every decision you make in Formula 1. No one has the crystal ball to guess the future.

“At the same time, in Formula 1 or in any sport, you win or you don’t. It doesn’t matter to be fourth or ninth or 13th – you are first, or you are not winning.

“I think all the Formula 1 teams and drivers, we are here to be in that top spot. Within the possibilities that I had on the table for next year, I think this one was the right one.

“As I said, the project has some ingredients for the future that in Formula 1 are normally synonymous with success – when you invest and you have the best people. So let’s see if we can shortcut that time as much as possible and make Aston Martin very fast next year already.”

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2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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9 comments on “Aston Martin “seemed to really want me” compared to Alpine – Alonso”

  1. This makes it all make sense now. One of the all time greats at driving, but one of the worst at making moves.

  2. He just didnt want to race esteban after he created some troubles during the races, considering his help in getting him a win. So, he just wants to retire in peace with some money, without lance blocking him every race.

    1. Wonder why does Alonso fans requires a special “gratitude” towards ALO from OCO, because of the Hungarian GP win. Why ALO wasn’t grateful and didn’t let Massa or Piquet through every race after they helped ALO win?

      That’s just ricidulous. You’re making that Hungarian GP victory like it was achieved only because ALO wanted OCO to win, not because of other factors, and OCO should always give way to ALO because of that single moment. Not to mention OCO had his moment in Qatar, but since the track was MUCH different, and the tyre difference was huge – he wasn’t able to hold PER for such a long time as ALO did with HAM.

      ALO never showed any gratitude towards Piquet, didn’t help him when he needed it – so that’s a lesson learned by OCO, he did the same as ALO learned him. Lol.

  3. I think this is a very good explanation from him. I get the feeling that he’s put behind him his inner desire to win a third world championship. After all, “El Plan” really had the new regulations as a basis to shake up the order in the grid and Alpine, while improving a bit, found itself far off the pace anyway. That’s ground that’s not going to be recovered anytime soon.

    Aston Martin is in the same boat but with a new project and maybe that was attractive to Alonso, to join a team that really wanted him in the short and mid-term, that were willing to put all their resources behind him, with the idea of building that team so it eventually becomes succesful…

    I don’t think he intends to see the results of that, given his age, but really, when Alpine is hesitant to sign a deal because they have Piastri knocking on the door, maybe that’s not a good enviroment to be in. Knowing that a one year deal with a team that really wants to replace you but wouldn’t means next year is going to be discussions again…

    Alonso’s decisions regarding switching teams isn’t exactly something to shout about anyway so whatever he decides is going to be wrong anyway… why not move somewhere they really want you? makes sense in a way.

    1. At the end of the day, we all see how ferrari is struggling to win another title, it’s now been 14 years that they don’t win at least the driver or the constructor’s title, I believe if alonso had been there with that car in 2018 he’d have won, but even just 2017 was imo very unlikely; this year there was a good chance too, even with leclerc, but there need to be proper strategists, reliability was “fine” in comparison to red bull, similar, so apart from a one-off from brawn gp, in recent times it’s always been red bull or mercedes, so since alonso burned bridges or whatever reason why they don’t want him, I don’t see a title as realistic unless you can land those seats, for alonso or anyone else, I stopped believing in teams like alpine or aston martin to catch up, and I didn’t have a lot of trust in that to begin with either.

    2. Indeed, makes sense to go where they want you than where you may only get a 1-year contract, alpine and aston imo don’t have championship potential in the next decade, but they can certainly get close enough to each other that alonso can make the difference.

  4. I’ve often thought that historically, Alonso hasn’t held much respect for Vettel’s speed, and has resented his greater success. I have little doubt that he has little respect for Stroll’s speed. So I wonder whether Alonso believes that this year’s Aston is not actually a downgrade from his current Alpine, but is only being held back by its drivers, which he could then in theory entirely rectify. I’m not sure whether he’d be right in thinking this, but it did occur to me that it might be his train of thought.
    But it’s nice to feel wanted and respected, so maybe that was the biggest part of his move. If so, that was a very big mistake by Alpine.

    1. That is certainly interesting, even with that included though the alpine of this year should be better I think.

    2. I think he’s saying the truth that Aston just wanted him more and felt more welcoming. But maybe he has in the back of his mind that Alpine currently has two very decent drivers while Aston currently has daddy’s boy and a 4-time world champion who hasn’t shown to by that much faster than daddy’s boy as well. Unlocking that car’s true potential and looking good doing it will definitely boost his ego and show his detractors that he definitely still deserves to be on the grid at 40+ years.

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