Fernando Alonso admits he ‘didn’t trust 100%’ his Aston Martin move at first

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso stands on the podium. Melbourne April 2023.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso stands while the national anthems play on the podium. Australia April 2023.

Fernando Alonso has explained that he “didn’t trust 100% everything” he was told when a move to Aston Martin was pitched to him last summer.

A degree of scepticism on Alonso’s part was perhaps natural, given the Silverstone-based team’s performance in the Constructors’ Championship having dropped in recent seasons, albeit with significant investment having taken place behind the scenes.

Team owner Lawrence Stroll has looked to spearhead a mass recruitment drive to Aston Martin in the past couple of years, with the team’s staff expanding significantly and a new factory being built on site at Silverstone – with the first of three new buildings due to be opening in the coming weeks for office staff.

Alonso was swiftly signed by the team after the retirement of Sebastian Vettel was announced last summer, but the former Alpine driver – managed by ex-Renault boss Flavio Briatore – was said to have required some bringing around to the idea of heading to Aston Martin initially, with Alpine having sat above them in the Constructors’ standings at that point.

The two-time World Champion’s contractual situation at that point reportedly hinged on Alpine offering him a single-year contract extension with the team, but Aston Martin offered the multi-year deal he had been requesting, making his decision to sign on the dotted line that bit easier.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle in Miami, the former F1 driver put it to Alonso that he heard that manager Briatore was initially more convinced by the idea of heading to Aston Martin than Alonso himself.

When asked if that was true, Alonso responded: “I mean, I have always… I didn’t trust, you know, 100% everything that the teams tell you in August.

“Flavio was quite keen on the Aston Martin project. I think he saw the investment, he saw the vision of Lawrence which, obviously, he is a very important leader we have in the team, and once I think Lawrence has a goal, he will get it.

“He will succeed eventually, you know. It maybe takes two years, five, or seven, but he will get it – and I think Flavio was quite strong into [the] Aston Martin project.”

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The risk Alonso has taken for this year and beyond has certainly paid off from his perspective, taking four podium finishes in the first five races and sitting third in the Drivers’ Championship behind both Red Bull drivers at this early stage.

When discussing how he and Stroll work together, he is aware of the role he will be playing in bringing Stroll’s son Lance to the forefront of the team in the coming years.

That has already been on show so far this season, with Alonso offering Stroll his brake balance setting in Azerbaijan and complimenting the young Canadian on an overtake while watching on the big screen in Miami on Sunday.

“I think we know each other for now 12 years, when Lance was just a kid in karting and I like him,” Alonso said of his relationship with the Aston Martin owner.

“I liked his way of having no limits. I think Lawrence has a leadership that I think is quite contagious and everyone in the team is believing what he thinks, and with a Formula 1 team, you need to have this kind of boss and one voice that sets the direction.

“I like this team and also my role in the team. I’m aware of my role perfectly fine, and I accept it.

“I’m at the end of my career. Lance I think will lead the team for the next 10 or 15 years, and I want to help the team and I want to help Lance as much as I can while I’m driving.”