Fernando Alonso opens up on his decision to leave Alpine for Aston Martin in F1 2023 as he adds on Otmar Szafnauer situation and Oscar Piastri.
The move from Alonso to Aston Martin caught many by surprise as the F1 circus went into the summer break. Having discussed about staying back at Alpine for long, the Spaniard seemingly made a late decision to switch teams after the seat was open.
As per Alonso, the call only came after Sebastian Vettel decided to leave and the Spaniard was readily available for the talks where he saw the project of Aston Martin. Despite leaving Alpine, he praised the team’s effort and their plan to move ahead in the order.
Regrading the situation with team boss Szafnauer, Alonso clarified that he wasn’t involved in the talks which had Laurent Rossi and Luca de Meo which is why he was surprised by the decision. He further elaborated on the contract situation too.
Move to Aston Martin:
Alonso – “It was for two or three days, then it changed, there was more news coming. But yeah, I had this possibility, the phone call from Aston after Sebastian announced that he was stopping at the end of the year. So yeah, at that point we sit down and we go to this agreement. I think the project is very attractive. Obviously there is a lot of investment going on in the last few years, a lot of new people came to the team, very talented engineers, designers, new facilities in Silverstone. So… I don’t know, 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. We felt that it was the right thing to do.
How did it happen –
Alonso: “Yeah, well, you ask too many details, which then is up to us to disclose everything. But yeah, I have no problems to say that everything started when Sebastian announced the retirement. I think Aston was waiting for that decision. They were happy with Sebastian to continue one more year. At the end, 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 and yeah, we started talking on that weekend, briefly, about the conditions that I was expecting, about what they were expecting from me as well. Yeah, we meet quite quickly on our expectations and fulfil all our wishes. And yeah, on Monday morning we signed and we decided to announce it quite quickly before any leaks. And yeah, that’s more or less the timeline of everything.
Happy with Alpine if not Aston Martin –
Alonso: “That was my intention and I was not hiding that as well. Every press conference that I did so far this year, I was quite clear that I was happy with the progress that we’re 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, not only the Renault Group history, but also Fernando history, what we do together and I was happy but yeah, for one reason or another, we were not moving forward from a couple of months already and yeah, it seems that it was a logical move to me because Aston was very willing to have me and trust on my abilities on the track and off track as well, to develop the project. And, in my case also, it felt that after all the negotiations and the months, having the seat available for a younger driver and talented driver like Oscar, it was the right thing to do and a win-win situation seemed for everybody.”
Long-term deal from Alpine –
Alonso: “It was not that a specific talk about the future with them, and we were moving around in different things and we were not maybe agreeing on the principles. And it’s not only what you agree in terms of the duration of the contract, it’s just also the trust that you feel and how you feel wanted in a place, you know, and if it was just a temporary thing or is just facts and a time watch that they are happy with. And it was always a strange feeling and yeah, as I said, I felt we felt that it was the right decision to move to Aston because they seemed to really want me and appreciate every performance that I was put in the last two years.”
Situation with Otmar Szafnauer –
Alonso: “Yeah, I’m happy with this question because, yeah, it’s true, Otmar probably didn’t know anything but I informed Laurent Rossi, president Luca De Meo, my mechanics, my engineers before any announcement, so all the people that were involved in the negotiations, they had been informed before any announcement on Aston Martin. Omar was not involved in the negotiations and yes, probably Laurent or Luca didn’t call him before the announcement and he was surprised by that. But yeah, all the people that I’ve been negotiating with, they were informed before any announcement and about my move to Aston and as I said, even my mechanics and my engineers, I took my time to inform them before any announcement.”
Alpine’s stuation with Oscar Piastri –
Alonso: “It’s difficult to comment. Obviously, like every one that is seated here probably we were surprised and I was but I think it’s not up to me to comment on this and more to the team because I don’t know exactly how is the situation but I think everyone was surprised.”
Involvement of Flavio Briatore, Mark Webber –
Alonso: “No, not at all. And I read that in the first days. And honestly, it was by quite sad, and annoying to read that, you know, conspiracy, because, I mean, I make this decision, I explain why. Because, you know, from some months that I’ve been chatting with the team about extending the contract, that nothing officially arrive, and nothing officially happened and Aston called me after Sebastian retired. If Sebastian probably continue, this will not happen, they move to Aston. So, I mean, they were very clear and very easy decisions from my side. And what happened after and what is happening, as I said, with Oscar, whatever, is completely, you know, not my thing.
“I will be completely aside. Oscar is an incredible talent for any team and for Alpine. I’ve been working with him for now two years and I wish him the best, and also the best for Alpine, because it’s going to be my team this year but they’re going to be my team always on my heart, as I said before, because we achieved things that were unthinkable when we started the relationship, and I went back to the sport also thanks to Alpine, so I only wish the best for them. And those comments that I read, they were sad to read. Bar of any of these negotiations, you know, I’ve been doing my things always and Flavio’s coming to some races, but as you may know, with other deals that he has with Stefano and Formula 1 and Paddock Club and things, but not related to me.”
Here’s Otmar Szafnauer on no distraction
Here’s news of Daniel Ricciardo departure
Here’s Otmar Szafnauer on court case
Here’s Mike Krack on signing Fernando Alonso
Here’s Oscar Piastri on no Alpine