The game of musical chairs for the 2023 F1 season has begun: double Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso will leave the French Alpine team at the end of the season to succeed German driver Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, announced yesterday Monday the English stable. One champion therefore replaces another, Alonso thus recovering the seat of the quadruple world champion (with the Red Bull team) who announced last Thursday his retirement from F1 at the end of the 2022 season.
“The entire Aston Martin team is very excited to welcome Fernando’s incredible experience, brilliant burst of speed and racing expertise,” the English team wrote in a statement posted yesterday morning on internet and on social networks. “The recruitment of a special talent like that of Fernando is a strong declaration of intent on the part of an organization committed to developing a winning team in F1”, adds the text.
A veteran of the grid – he celebrated his 41st birthday last Friday at the Hungarian GP – the “Asturian Bull” (his nickname), considered one of the best drivers of his generation, had assured earlier this season to be ready to stay in F1 for another two or three years. At the end of the contract with the French manufacturer, it is therefore on the other side of the Channel that the driver will continue his journey in F1, with “a multi-year contract”, took care to specify the Aston Martin team. It was called Force India when it was owned by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, then Racing Point when it was first bought by Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire, before it changed its name.
This team “is clearly putting in the energy and commitment it takes to win, so it’s one of the most exciting teams in F1 today,” Alonso wrote in the same statement. And to continue: “I have known Lawrence and Lance (his son, the team’s other driver) for a long time, and it is obvious that they have the ambition and the passion necessary to succeed in F1. »
Tenth in the championship
Alonso drove in F1 between 2001 and 2018, winning the world title with Renault in 2005 and 2006. The Spaniard also raced for McLaren in 2007 and then between 2015 and 2018 with disappointing results, the English team being at the bottom of the vague. He had previously spent five years at Ferrari (2010-2014 included) without managing to win a new title, first against the ogre Vettel then against Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
Lacking the means to win again in F1, the native of Oviedo then left F1 for two years. Time to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019, the title of world endurance champion in 2018-2019 with Toyota, and to participate in the 500 Miles of Indianapolis and the Dakar rally-raid. Returning to F1 last year, at 39, at Alpine, Renault’s new identity, he finished in a modest 10th place at the end of last season, ahead of his French teammate Esteban Ocon.
“I always have the thirst and the ambition to fight at the forefront, and I want to be part of an organization that is committed to learning, developing and succeeding”, assured “Nando” (another nickname of Alonso) yesterday. And if he continues, there is no question for him of appearing in the middle of the table: “I intend to win again in this sport and I must therefore seize the opportunities that seem good to me. His 98th and last podium, to date, dates back to the 2021 Qatar GP. His last victory, the 32nd, at the 2013 Spanish GP in Barcelona, in his native country. Alonso is currently 10th in the world championship, after 13 races out of 22 in total, with 41 points. Last Sunday, he finished 8th in the Hungarian GP, ahead of Ocon, due to a poor choice of tires by the French team for its two drivers. On the Aston Martin side, the team took 7th place (out of 10) in the constructors’ championship last year. She is currently 9th and penultimate, ahead of the American Haas, while her single-seaters are equipped with Mercedes engines.
With the departure of the Spaniard, Alpine now has a free seat which should go to its reserve driver, the Australian Oscar Piastri (21), crowned F2 champion in 2021.
The game of musical chairs for the 2023 F1 season has begun: double Spanish world champion Fernando Alonso will leave the French Alpine team at the end of the season to succeed German driver Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, announced yesterday Monday the English stable. A champion therefore replaces another, Alonso thus recovering the seat of the quadruple champion of the…
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