Aston Martin principal Mike Krack said they were “lucky” that Alpine made such a big deal about Fernando Alonso’s age, as he is now proving that to be a non-factor with them.
Despite Alonso publicly stating his desire to continue with Alpine beyond 2022, the bombshell announcement dropped mid-season that he would instead switch to their midfield rivals at the time Aston Martin from F1 2023 on a multi-year deal.
Those terms were something which Alpine were not prepared to offer, having cited concerns over Alonso’s age, the Spaniard having turned 42 this year.
Fernando Alonso age talk a big win for Aston Martin
Alonso though has proven throughout F1 2023 so far that age is just a number, having scored seven podium finishes for the Aston Martin team who have surged up the order, and so Krack believes they owe Alpine a thank you for sticking to the “massively overrated” age concerns.
“I think with the right discipline and the right motivation it works without any problems,” Krack told Motorsport.com in regards to the Fernando Alonso age debate.
“You see Valentino Rossi, for example, or tennis players like Roger Federer, who had a very long career. So I think maybe we also have to change our approach a little bit, because I think age is massively overrated nowadays.
“When you see the will…I’ve had drivers who weren’t even 30 who said, ‘I’ve achieved everything’ – even though they haven’t achieved much.
“And then there is this example [of Fernando] with a huge focus, a huge determination. We don’t even talk [about his age]. It’s just you guys doing that.
“We have two drivers who are maximally focused and we don’t really think about it. That’s the interesting thing about it. I think we were lucky that his previous team made quite a story out of it. That made it easier for us.”
Any initial concerns for Krack were not due to Alonso’s age, but instead in regards to how a multi-time World Champion like Alonso would settle into a team that was the seventh-fastest based off their 2022 Constructors’ result.
But as it turns out, Alonso’s positive influence on the Aston Martin team has blown him away.
“I was positively surprised in many ways – very, very positively,” Krack confirmed.
“First of all, you have the normal expectations of a driver [who] has 350 races, two World Championships, 32 wins, coming from a team that was fourth on paper to a team that was seventh. I’ve had these things before. We had Jacques Villeneuve coming to Sauber as a World Champion and all these things.”
“And I thought, ‘this is going to be really difficult!’ But from day one it wasn’t. From the first day it was positive energy, maximum determination, which moved us forward. He looked not only at himself but at the whole team.
“I can only say that from day one I was blown away, by the approach, by the energy he brought to the table and by how it affected the team. It’s something that’s hard to describe, to be honest.”
The runner-up spot to Formula 1’s dominant force Max Verstappen in the F1 2023 Drivers’ Championship remains possible for Alonso, the gap to Sergio Perez in that position currently 49 points.