F1: behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s departure which shocks the Alpine team

Double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will join the Aston Martin team at the end of the season. A start discreetly prepared by the Spaniard… far from the eyes of Alpine.

Nobody expected it and even less the Alpine team, Fernando Alonso announced Monday morning his departure from the Renault family. The Spanish driver will drive for Aston Martin next season, taking the seat vacated by Sebastian Vettel. A decision that left the boss of the French team Otmar Szafnauer in shock.

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The total trauma at Alpine

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer believed this weekend that his Enstone, England-based outfit were close to signing a new contract with Fernando Alonso as the sides neared an agreement on final negotiations.

“Obviously when you’re in the paddock there are all kinds of rumours, and I had heard that Aston were interested. There were probably informal discussions. But I was convinced that, despite these discussions, we were very close to an agreement,” Szafnauer then said in an interview with Autosport.

Szafnauer said Alpine and Alonso had all but agreed to a two-year contract extension which guaranteed the Spaniard a seat for 2023 with an option for 2024 afterwards.

In addition, the 57-year-old Romanian-American also confirmed that the Alpine team had learned of Fernando Alonso’s departure on Monday morning on social networks, via the official press release published by Aston Martin.

A false denial from Fernando Alonso

Worried by the latest rumours, Otmar Szafnauer called the Spanish driver on Sunday evening after the Hungarian Grand Prix to take stock of his future. A short discussion between the two men during which Alonso would have concluded in these terms “don’t worry, I haven’t signed with anyone else”.

“I asked him the question on Sunday evening and he denied me any negotiations or signatures with another team. And then, before he left, I confirmed with him that we were going to extend it soon. So I am indeed very surprised by this announcement.says Szafnauer.

According to information fromMotorsport, Fernando Alonso’s contract with Aston Martin would have been signed the day before this phone call. The Spaniard officially signed up with the British team on Saturday evening after qualifying at the Hungaroring circuit.

Alonso slams the door at Alpine LISA LEUTNER/REUTERS

A strangely timed announcement

What if Fernando Alonso had deliberately shot down Alpine’s projects? The timing of his announcement suggests a revenge signed by the Taurus of Asturias. Oscar Piastri’s contract with Alpine, nugget of the Renault academy and essayist driver this season, expired on July 31, 2022, the day before the announcement made by Aston Martin.

The Alpine team had practically agreed to a two-year contract extension with Fernando Alonso, which guaranteed him a seat for 2023 with an option for the following year. Nevertheless, the Spaniard wouldn’t have appreciated his place being discussed and worried about the youngster Piastri’s development.

Aston Martin had been running for several weeks

According to information from AMuS, negotiations between Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin began many weeks ago in the event that Sebastian Vettel left the team.

The Canadian owner Lawrence Stroll would have pressured the German driver so that he could make his decision quickly, for fear that the deal with Alonso would be revealed and thus, that he would fall through. Vettel’s departure was announced on Thursday and Alonso’s signing confirmed on Saturday.

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