Two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso announced earlier this week that he will leave Alpine to join Aston Martin in 2023.
Alonso is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time. The Spaniard won two back to back World Titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault. He has also driven for Ferrari and McLaren before leaving the sport in 2019 to compete in other racing ventures.
After competing in the Le Mans and Indy 500, Alonso returned to F1 in 2021. He joined the team with whom he won two Championships. Renault however, had changed and was now known as Alpine.
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) August 1, 2022
Alonso had a brilliant comeback season, and also earned a podium finish in Qatar. Plenty were surprised to see a driver of his age put in performances at a level as high as he was displaying. He remained confident and insisted he would remain in F1 for the long term and help Alpine win.
2022 too has been a great year for Alonso so far. Off track however, his relationship with new Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has been frosty.
Fernando Alonso did not inform Alpine that he was leaving
Szafnauer did not hide the fact that he didn’t want Alonso in 2023. His main priority was to promote reserve driver Oscar Piastri to the main seat. A major factor behind this was the former Ferrari driver’s old age.
Despite that, Alonso always made sure to give his best for Alpine. However, when he saw that the management was not prioritizing his future, he decided to join a team that would. Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from F1, that opened up a spot at Aston Martin. The Silverstone based outfit signed the 41-year old on a multi-year contract.
‘@AlpineF1Team boss Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed that the first the team knew about @alo_oficial‘s departure was from yesterday’s @AstonMartinF1 press release. As of Sunday night, and the last chat with ALO, they still thought he was staying
— Adam Cooper (@adamcooperF1) August 2, 2022
After his signing was made official, Szafnauer made it clear that he had no idea this was going to happen. According to him, even after the Hungarian GP last Sunday, the French team were sure Alonso would stay with them.
Alonso pulled an uno reverse and said “Checo sends his regards” 😭
— rie (@High5Forever) August 2, 2022
Fans feel that Szafnauer disrespecting Alonso in public played a huge role in this. The former also unceremoniously let go of Sergio Perez when he was in charge of Racing Point, in spite of the Mexican having one of his best F1 seasons ever.
F1 twitter is convinced that Alonso leaving Szafnauer and Alpine behind like this is revenge on the 57-year old American.