For the first “media day” after the summer break, one of the most anticipated drivers was obviously Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard must explain why he suddenly decided to change course for the rest of his career, signing a two-year deal with Aston Martin F1 from next year.
Let’s start with the form… Fernando Alonso seems to have taken everyone at Alpine by surprise, who had not foreseen the contractual blow with Oscar Piastri.
However, Fernando says that everyone at Alpine knew very well… except Otmar Szafnauer, the team manager! Fernando Alonso puts a riff on Enstone…
“All the people involved in the negotiations with Alpine, such as Laurent (Rossi) or Luca de Meo, were informed before the publication of the press release. Perhaps Otmar (Szafnauer) didn’t know this, but he wasn’t involved in negotiating the contract renewal either. Looks like no one on the team called to tell him. »
“It’s true, Otmar probably didn’t know anything. But I informed the president, Luca de Meo, Laurent Rossi, my mechanics, my team. Everyone involved in the negotiations knew before the announcement. Otmar was not in the negotiations, perhaps Luca de Meo or Laurent Rossi did not tell him. But everyone knew it, including my mechanics. »
It all happened “very quickly” with Aston Martin F1
Fernando Alonso thus seems to wreak havoc on Alpine’s top management… moreover, if Rossi had been well informed, why not have informed Otmar Szafnauer (if Alonso is telling the truth)? These statements may not help Fernando Alonso’s reputation as a highly political driver, which is why Toto Wolff never wanted him at Mercedes.
The Spaniard recounts these events in more detail…
“Everything happened very fast. Thursday [à Budapest], Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement and I received a call from Aston Martin to find out what my situation was. They asked me [chez Aston Martin F1] if I had already renewed my contract with Alpine. And I said no, that I was just in talks. We sat down to talk and I told them what I wanted. »
“They accepted and told me about the project they have with the people who have joined the team, and about the new facilities they are building. In a matter of minutes, we reached an agreement. We signed and on Monday my signing was announced. »
Alonso repeats it, stay with Alpine “it was my intention. I didn’t hide it at all. »
Was Fernando Alonso really afraid of being replaced by Oscar Piastri?
“I understand Alpine’s situation with Piastri. He is a young talent of several years and with incredible potential. They had to find a solution. Luca de Meo has already said it. They had three drivers and only two cars. They had to find a solution. For Piastri and for me. »
There is no conspiracy according to Alonso…
Some in the paddock muttered a conspiracy led by Alonso, Briatore and Mark Webber (Piastri’s agent) to sign the Aston Martin F1 contract at the wrong time and put Alpine in a sticky situation…
“It’s hard to comment. I think we were all quite surprised here. »
“I read that, but I didn’t like reading all that stuff about a conspiracy. I made my decision and explained it. Aston called me when Sebastian retired, but if he hadn’t retired, this transfer would not have happened. »
“What happened afterwards, with Oscar, has nothing to do with it. I wish Oscar a lot of success, he is very talented, just like Alpine. They will be my team this year and always in my heart, we achieved unthinkable things and I came back to this sport thanks to them. I can only wish you the best. »
“I always did what I had to do, Flavio came to certain races but, as you know, he made other agreements with Stefano. [Domenicali, PDG de la F1] and Formula 1, the Paddock Club and other things, but that doesn’t bother me. »
Convinced by the Aston Martin F1 project?
Signing with Aston Martin F1, isn’t it a step backwards in Fernando Alonso’s career?
“What attracted me was the talents they attracted. People from Red Bull and Mercedes. It is a prestigious brand, with a future, and with a large investment by Lawrence Stroll, as well as the sponsors that they have managed to attract: Aramco, Cognizant, Hugo Boss… Many people are involved in this high-quality project and I hope it will take finished. »
“I have no problem saying that it all started when Sebastián announced his retirement. Aston were waiting for the decision, they were happy with Seb if he wanted to continue for another year, but he decided to quit and they called some drivers who were interested. I was part of it, I was still available, we talked about the conditions that I expected, what they expected of me, we agreed very quickly, we fulfilled all our requests and we signed on Monday morning. We decided to announce it very quickly, before any leaks. »
Although he admitted he couldn’t be sure this career change was the right move, Alonso believes Aston Martin has the right ingredients to succeed in F1.
“For sure there are risks in every decision you make in Formula 1. Nobody has the crystal ball to predict the future. »
“At the same time, in Formula 1 or in any sport, you either win or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re fourth, ninth or thirteenth, you’re first or you don’t win. »
“I think that all the teams and all the Formula 1 drivers are here to be in the first place. Of the possibilities that I had on the table for next year, I think this was the one. »
“As I said, the project has certain ingredients for the future which in Formula 1 normally means success, when you invest and you have the best people. So let’s see if we can shorten this time as much as possible and make Aston Martin very fast next year. »
Alonso did not feel “loved” at Alpine
Above all, it seems that Aston Martin F1 ‘nurtured’ Fernando Alonso’s self-esteem, while Alpine doubted his abilities beyond the year due to his age.
“With Alpine, things hadn’t progressed for a few months. »
“It was a logical decision for me, as Aston was very interested in having me and trusting my abilities on and off the track to develop the project. »
« Dans mon cas également, j’ai felt qu’après toutes les négociations et les mois, avoir la baquet available pour un pilote plus jeune et talentueux comme Oscar, c’était la bonne chose à faire et une situation gagnant-gagnant il semble for everyone. »
“At Alpine, we were moving forward on different things and disagreed on the essentials. It is not only the duration, but also the confidence that one feels, the fact of feeling loved in a place, when one wants to feel that one is not only temporarily. I have always had a strange feeling with Alpine and the logical thing was to go to Aston Martin. »
“I never hid the fact that I was happy with the progress of the car and the team at Alpine, for everything we have achieved in history. But it was a logical decision, Aston was confident in my abilities on and off the track and they wanted to keep me. Leaving that seat available for a talented young man like Oscar was good for everyone. »
Doesn’t Alonso fear the wrath of Lawrence Stroll, a hardhead who won’t be impressed by political games? Or team up with the owner’s son?
“I’ve known Lance (Stroll) since he was 13 years old, when he was at the Ferrari Academy, and I also know Lawrence well. It’s going to be different. I’ve never been in a team where the owner had his son racing. But we have him. very clear. We already talked about that. How to grow together, help each other, help each other, help each other and try to improve Aston Martin as a brand.”
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