Fernando Alonso Will Join Aston Martin F1 in 2023
The move from Alpine to Aston may seem like a downgrade, but the Spaniard’s long-term gamble might just pay off.
In what appears to be a considerable blow to someone aspiring to win in F1 again, Fernando Alonso has confirmed his move to Aston Martin for 2023, ditching the Alpine squad at the end of the current season. The Monday-morning announcement was rather unexpected, as Sebastian Vettel's retirement was announced just four days ago. Given the Spaniard's desire to win races and ultimately a world championship again, could the under-performing Aston prove to be a deadly blow or a crucial move?
Alonso, who just turned 41 years old over the Hungarian GP weekend, isn't getting any younger and his time in F1 is admittedly running out—even if he claims to be at the peak of his physical and mental performance. After returning from a two-year sabbatical that saw him win the 24 of Le Mans and compete at the Indy 500 and Dakar Rally, Alonso joined Alpine in 2021 hoping to continue his longtime, fruitful relationship with Renault. It's now clear that despite earning his first F1 podium in seven years and putting on great performances throughout 2021 and 2022 so far, the two-time world champion wants more. And he thinks Aston can give it to him.
"I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me," said Alonso in a press release. "This team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is, therefore, one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today. I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone."
It's smart of Alonso to point out some key factors here: "energy and commitment to win" as well as "systematically attracted great people." What he's referring to is Aston's recent poaching of Red Bull's former head of aerodynamics Dan Fallows, now the British Green squad's technical director. In addition, team owner and executive chairman Lawrence Stroll is dumping truckloads of cash into the F1 operation, currently remodeling and expanding the team's HQ at Silverstone, including the construction of a brand-new wind tunnel.
These key improvements should, in theory, net positive results by the time the 2023 season gets going. And Alonso could very well be poised to reap the benefits.
"I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organization to succeed in this highly competitive sport, and those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone," said Stroll. "It seemed natural therefore to invite Fernando to be part of the development of a winning team."
Only said to be a "multi-year" deal, it's likely that the Spaniard's contract has been signed for two years, with the possibility of an extension based on performance. This puts Alonso at 43 years of age by the end of his contract, and likely even 45 should he remain competitive during his first two seasons. Lance Stroll will more than likely partner Alonso during his career at Aston, as the young Canadian's seat is hardly in danger despite his lackluster performance.
What about Alpine? The French squad now must scramble to find another driver, though this will likely elevate Renault prodigy and F2 champion Oscar Piastri to the F1 seat in 2023. Esteban Ocon is poised to become Alpine's number one driver.
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