Fernando Alonso confirms Otmar Szafnauer was not part of Alpine talks

Jamie Woodhouse
Alpine driver Fernando Alonso with Otmar Szafnauer. Hungary July 2022.

Alpine principal Otmar Szafnauer said he learned of the upcoming exit of Fernando Alonso via the press release, which Alonso confirms.

Having returned to Formula 1 in 2021 with Alpine, it is now official that the 2022 campaign will be Alonso’s last with the French outfit.

From 2023, he will make the move to Aston Martin, after signing a multi-year deal with the team which has ambitions of climbing into title contention in the coming years.

Szafnauer has already revealed that he was caught off guard somewhat by the announcement, as he only found out once it was made public in the press release.

 

 

Alonso explained that Szafnauer was not part of his contract negotiations with Alpine, so was not most likely told in advance about the Aston Martin agreement.

“I’m happy with this question because, yeah, it’s true, Otmar probably didn’t know anything,” Alonso told reporters.

“But I informed [Alpine CEO] Laurent Rossi, president Luca De Meo, my mechanics, my engineers before any announcement, so all the people that were involved in the negotiations, they had been informed before any announcement on Aston Martin.

“Omar was not involved in the negotiations and yes, probably Laurent or Luca didn’t call him before the announcement and he was surprised by that.

“But yeah, all the people that I’ve been negotiating with, they were informed before any announcement and about my move to Aston and as I said, even my mechanics and my engineers, I took my time to inform them before any announcement.”

It is believed that a reluctance from Alpine to commit to Alonso long-term was behind the stalling in negotiations, with Aston Martin then moving to offer that multi-year commitment.

Alpine’s original plan after Alonso’s announcement was to promote reserve driver Oscar Piastri into a 2023 race seat, though the reigning F2 champ sensationally denied that he would be driving for the team next season after Alpine said that he would in a press release of their own.

Alonso was asked if he would have signed with Alpine before Aston Martin reached out if they had offered a multi-year contract, though Alonso said the sticking points in talks were more widespread, hinting at feeling unwanted by Alpine in the long-term.

“It was not that, a specific talk about the future with them, and we were moving around in different things and we were not maybe agreeing on the principles,” said Alonso.

“And it’s not only what you agree in terms of the duration of the contract, it’s just also the trust that you feel and how you feel wanted in a place, you know, and if it was just a temporary thing or is just facts and a time watch that they are happy with.

“And it was always a strange feeling and yeah, I felt we felt that it was the right decision to move to Aston because they seemed to really want me and appreciate every performance that I put in the last two years.”