“We had been talking with Fernando for quite some time and we were very close to finalizing the agreementA few minor points were missing. Before he left Hungary, I confirmed with him that we would sign soon and he told me: ‘Don’t worry, I haven’t signed with anyone else’. Y the next day, in the morning, I saw the ad for Aston Martin”.
The words that oscillate between bewilderment and indignation are from Otmar Szafnauerthe team leader of Alpine that during the first hours after the Hungarian GP he became aware of a piece of news that kicked the Formula 1 board: Fernando Alonso signed with Aston Martin to replace next year a Sebastian Vettel who decided to retire.
The French cast, which hit the table in the 2021 season to make him return to the Maximum after two seasons away, was absolutely surprised by the determination of the 41-year-old Asturian. The two-time F1 champion did not communicate the news to his superiors, who found out on social media when Lawrence Stroll’s team unveiled the multi-year agreement.
“Nobody in Formula 1 today is showing greater vision and an absolute commitment to win., and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me”, were the words of the Spaniard on the official Aston Martin site. The detail is that this team is currently one of the worst performing in the division: is 9th in the constructors’ championship with just 20 units. Although next year he will only enter the third year of the project of the five that was proposed to win the tournament.
The background theme in this movement, regardless of the confusion that was unleashed in Alpine, is linked to the armchair dance that was unleashed. The team of French origin received “many calls from potential pilots” since Alonso’s departure was announced, but the focus is on the reserve driver Oscar Piastria 21-year-old Australian who was champion in the last two seasons of Formula 3 and Formula 2, respectively.
However, the team that only has confirmed Stephen Ocon for the coming year you could be left without one of the pearls of the future: They warn that he would have a pre-agreement with McLaren to be a regular driver in 2023.
“I don’t know if he has a pre-contract with McLaren, but I do know that he has a contractual obligation with us.; and we with him. We have fulfilled them throughout the year and they are obligations with options for 2023 and 2024. We have a legal contract for 2023 and an option for 2024. But I do not know what he has done with McLaren. He is our number one candidate”, he accepted before the Spanish newspaper Ace Szafnauer, who in a few hours could receive two heavy blows for the coming year.
the french middle AutoHebdo, specialized in the motor world, stated that the two-time champion aboard Prema Racing would have everything on track with McLaren to be Lando Norris’s new partner instead of a Daniel Ricciardo It is not going through its best stage. The Australian, who won the Italian GP in 2021 giving the British a great success after a long time, has a contract until 2023 but his level is not adequate, being 57 points away from his teammate in the table. pilots.
The truth is that the castling, of a certain logic by the way, that begins to sound more strongly in F1 at this time is the Ricciardo’s return to Alpinea team for which he raced for two seasons when it still carried the Renault name. “I will try to come back with a little more speed in the second half of the year”the 33-year-old runner was raised with his sights set on the second part of the calendar that will only restart in Belgium in four weeks.
The first domino fell with the announcement of Vettel’s retirement last Thursday and the effect has already generated a movement that drew great confusion ahead of the 2023 seats. So far, Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton and George Russell), Red Bull (Max Verstappen and Czech Perez), ferrari (Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz) and Aston-Martin (with Lance Stroll as Alonso’s partner) are the teams that seem to have their riders insured for the coming season while the rest of the teams or riders with a contract analyze the best options for their future.