Fernando Alonso pins Alpine departure on ‘lack of professionalism’

Oliver Harden
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso speaks to media.

Fernando Alonso lifts his cap.

Fernando Alonso has claimed that Alpine’s “lack of professionalism” drove him away from the team and towards Aston Martin for the F1 2023 season.

Alonso shocked the world on the first morning of F1’s summer break in 2022 by announcing that he would leave Alpine for Aston Martin, just four days after predecessor Sebastian Vettel confirmed he would retire at the end of the year.

The Spaniard’s move has proved to be inspired, with Alonso standing on the podium at half of the 14 races held so far this season as Aston Martin have risen from the midfield pack to regularly challenge the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.

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Despite claiming two podium finishes themselves – one apiece for Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly in Monaco and the Netherlands – Alpine have endured a disappointing season and sit a distant sixth in the Constructors’ standings with eight rounds remaining, having ruthlessly sacked team principal Otmar Szafnauer at July’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Having excelled on his return to F1 with Alpine in 2021 after a two-year sabbatical, Alonso had been widely expected to remain with the Enstone team with whom he clinched both of his World Championships in 2005/06, with his move to Aston Martin coming as a major surprise.

Speaking to Spanish radio programme El Larguero, Alonso described the chain of events that led to him switching teams – explaining that Alpine’s hesitation in offering him a contract extension despite already having reached a agreement in principle resulted in the Oviedo-born star having second thoughts.

He said: “The first [act] was that Vettel retired.

“The second was that Alpine had been negotiating for several months and nothing was ever finalised. We agreed on everything, but the paper didn’t arrive, and I noticed a lack of professionalism.

“At Aston, we had everything clear on Saturday after Vettel’s announcement on Thursday, the role on the table. This willingness to have me seduced me.

“It was an adventure, there was a risk, but it worked out well and the hunch worked this time. There were a few hours with both offers on the table, but I saw more ambition in Aston Martin.”

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At the time it was suggested that Alpine’s reservations about Alonso’s age was behind their reluctance to offer him the long-term deal he craved, with the team keen to promote reserve driver rising star Oscar Piastri to a race seat in the near future.

Alpine went on to offer Alonso’s vacant seat to Piastri, unaware the Australian had already signed a contract to replace Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren for 2023 and sparking one of the more dramatic transfer sagas in modern F1 history.

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