With Fernando Alonso not free from his Alpine contract until the turn of the year, Aston Martin will need to play the long game.
It was Sebastian Vettel who put ‘silly season’ into action when he announced he would retire from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 campaign, freeing up a place at Aston Martin.
And with Aston Martin set to lose a four-time former World Champion, they moved to recruit another multi-time champ, that being Alonso who will make the switch from Alpine for 2023.
Of course, Aston Martin will want as much time as they can get with Alonso before the 2023 season gets under way, but it seems only when the new year begins will they be able to start working with the Spaniard.
According to Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack, Alonso’s Alpine contract runs until the end of the year, with his Aston Martin deal then starting on January 1st, so there is no opportunity to work with him before that point.
“We need to clarify what we can do and what we cannot do,” said Krack, quoted by GPFans.
“He’s an Alpine driver and we are Aston Martin and the contract starts at the beginning of next year.
“So anything between, that is not possible.”
Aston Martin will be fine, Fernando Alonso has the experience
As Aston Martin are a team with grand plans to work their way up the Formula 1 pecking order to the very top, with 2023 a crucial year to get the ball rolling on that plan, it is understandable they would want as much time as possible to integrate their new recruit into the team.
But Alonso is no stranger to Formula 1, nor unfamiliar with the challenge of changing teams, so the veteran will not be out of his comfort zone when it comes to making the move to Aston Martin and finding his feet there.
When Alonso returned to Formula 1 in 2021 with Alpine, it took the 41-year-old a few races to get the car how he liked it, soon returning to his best form once those changes were made.
So even if it takes him a couple of rounds again to properly gel with the 2023 Aston Martin, the team can still be very confident Alonso will quickly come good, even with just a couple of months of preparation before the first round in Bahrain.