Aston Martin: Fernando Alonso will not be the number one driver

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso on the grid before the Spanish GP. Barcelona May 2022.

Fernando Alonso standing near his Alpine car on the grid before the Spanish Grand Prix. Barcelona May 2022.

Aston Martin have stressed Fernando Alonso won’t be the number one driver when he joins the team next season, sharing equal status with Lance Stroll.

Alonso shocked the Formula 1 paddock, none more than his current Alpine team, when he announced hours into the summer break that this season would be his last with Alpine.

Instead he would be joining Aston Martin, believing the Lawrence Stroll-driven project is “one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today” with an “absolute commitment to winning”.

But while the 41-year-old joins the team as a double World Champion with 32 grand prix wins, he won’t be the team’s de facto number one.

In fact team boss Mike Krack says it was nothing something he even asked for when negotiating his new multi-year deal with the Silverstone-based team.

Asked by the Aston Martin website if Alonso will be the ‘clear number one driver’, Krack replied: “No.

“Fernando and Lance will have equal status. Fernando didn’t ask for anything like that.

“There’s been talk in the media of him being offered things like number one status and a huge salary, but I can assure you Fernando is not doing it for either the status or the paycheque.

“Of course, the package has to be commensurate with a driver of Fernando’s calibre and experience, but the speed with which the agreement was made tells you that things like salary or the detail of the deal were not the prime motivators for Fernando.

“He said it himself before the break: when both parties want to agree on something, it only takes 10 minutes.

“What convinced Fernando is the opportunity to be part of a team that’s progressing and where he can make a real impact.”

Alonso will replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, the German announcing his retirement from F1.

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso smiles while answering questions with the top three. Canada June 2022.

It may not be down on paper but Aston Martin have to treat Alonso as No.1

Aston Martin would be daft not to favour Fernando Alonso, he is after all Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard has shown time and again that he has what it takes to get it over the line, and often getting more out of the car than others even thought possible while doing so.

He once claimed that he alone was worth 0.6s per lap, and while that is up for some debate, one cannot argue with his numbers as he is a two-time World Champion with 32 grand prix wins under his belt. Throw in 98 podiums and 22 pole positions and it is clear that Alonso is a driver who brings in results.

The same cannot be said of Stroll, a driver more used to batting away claims he’s only in F1 because of his father than he is used to spraying champagne.

But while the big-story results haven’t been flowing Alonso since return in 2021, he still out-scored his team-mate Esteban Ocon in his first year back, and did so even though the Frenchman took a race win, and this year trails him by 17 with one more DNF on the board.

In those same two seasons Stroll has been behind Sebastian Vettel, 43-34, and now 16-4.

Meanwhile Alonso’s current eight-race points-scoring run has only been bettered by three drivers- Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton – and Alonso is by no means in the same calibre of car as they are. Stroll has just four top-ten results in total.

Also, and let’s be honest here, what would you rather read – Stroll wins or Alonso wins?

Without a double the 41-year-old would create more headlines for the Aston Martin brand as he is the more popular of the two 2023 drivers – 4.6m Instagram followers to 746k.

A driver who brings with him sponsorship to every team he joins, Alonso is the one who can drive Aston Martin forward while Stroll has yet to give any indication that he do that.