Fernando Alonso ditching midfield-leading Alpine for Aston Martin came as a shock but the veteran’s explanation will reassure and excite his fans.
Alonso lost none of his ambition during two years of retirement. Returning to the grid in 2021, his comeback was always going to be fuelled by dreams of Grand Prix victories.
Returning to the grid with Alpine, the re-branded Renault team that built both Alonso’s title-winning cars, the 41-year-old came closest to ending his victory drought with third place at the 2021 Qatar GP. May will mark a decade since Alonso last won an F1 race.
Despite helping Alpine beat McLaren to fourth on the Constructors’ standings last year, Alonso’s season was plagued by reliability frustration and he was edged by team-mate Esteban Ocon.
But the record-setting 355-time GP starter’s pace remains. A front-row start in Montreal and a potential pole lap in Melbourne were squandered by technical faults, while his sensational comeback in Texas was a vintage ‘Nando’ drive.
With positives noises coming from the Silverstone-based team and Alonso looking content in his off-season appearances, the veteran racer is feeling ambitious.
“Aston Martin is taking the necessary steps to win in the near future,” Alonso explained, speaking to astonmartinf1.com.
“The team is determined to become a championship contender and will do whatever it takes to get there. This ambition is appealing to any racing driver. You see all the investment, the new factory, the talent joining the team, and you want to be part of it.
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“And then there is the name, Aston Martin. It is, and always will be, an iconic brand in motorsport and the automotive industry. To write the next chapter in the brand’s history and become part of the Aston Martin family makes me very proud.
“This is a very special opportunity for me with this team at this moment in my career. I’ve been preparing physically and mentally for this challenge, and I see this project as a winning one.
“It’s a matter of time until Aston Martin is winning races and championships. Making that time as short as possible, this is my biggest challenge – but I’m ready for it.”
Since taking over Racing Point, the Lawrence Stroll-backed outfit have only returned back-to-back seventh-place Constructors’ finishes. However, Aston Martin’s big-money investments foreshadow a greater threat to the established F1 pace-setters.
Construction of a wind tunnel within a brand new factory complex that could cost up to £200million began at Silverstone in September 2021. Aston expect the site to be fully operational in mid-2024, with the team’s new office building due to be opening in the coming months.
As well signing a double World Champion to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel, the British team have also brought in a host of talented personnel to strengthen the garage.
Those include appointing Martin Whitmarsh as CEO and bringing in ex-Red Bull aero chief Dan Fallows as technical director.