Sport Alonso’s age a factor in why Alpine would not commit to long-term F1 deal

13:02  04 august  2022
13:02  04 august  2022 Source:   autosport.com

Fernando Alonso signs shock multi-year contract with Aston Martin

  Fernando Alonso signs shock multi-year contract with Aston Martin The Spaniard, 41, is out of contract at current team Alpine at the end of this season but there had been talk that they were keen to keep him. However Aston Martin, who are lose the retiring Sebastian Vettel at the end of the year, have now swooped to sign Alonso. © Provided by Daily Mail Fernando Alonso, 41, has agreed a multi-year contract with Aston Martin from 2023 'This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula One today,' Alonso said.

The Enstone-based squad had been on the verge of a fresh deal with the two-time F1 world champion before the Spaniard made a shock call to join Aston Martin earlier this week.

One of the key factors at the heart of Alonso’s decision to move teams was that Aston Martin was willing to offer him a much longer-term commitment – which is believed to be as long as three years including options.

PLUS: The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Alpine, however, was only ready to commit to a one-year-plus-one-year deal as it wanted some flexibility in case Alonso’s speed shows signs of waning.

While Alonso, who is 41, felt that such a concern was unfounded, as he says he is showing no signs of his form dipping yet, Alpine insists that there comes a point when things do turn.

Alonso to join Aston Martin as Vettel's replacement

  Alonso to join Aston Martin as Vettel's replacement Fernando Alonso will race for Aston Martin from the 2023 Formula 1 season, joining the team as Sebastian Vettel's replacement.In a shock move that was confirmed out of the blue on Monday morning, Aston Martin say Alonso has signed a "multi-year deal" to race for them.

Reflecting on what Alpine was ready to offer Alonso, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that age could not be discounted, and that is why it wanted to protect itself.

“It's hard to predict the future,” explained Szafnauer. “Like, I always say, if I could predict the future, I wouldn't be here. I'd be at Vegas.

“We offered a one-plus-one deal. And we discussed with Fernando that: look, if next year at this time, you're performing at the same level, of course, we will take you. And that could have carried on.

“But I think he wanted more certainty, independent of performance: 'I want to stay for longer'. And I think that was the crux of the going one-plus-one as opposed to two-plus-one or three-plus-one or three years.”

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry © Autosport.com Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Oscar Piastri firms for Formula One seat

  Oscar Piastri firms for Formula One seat Oscar Piastri, the 21-year-old Australian motor racing talent tipped for a bright future in the sport, could be thrust into the Formula One ranks in 2023.Alonso has signed a multi-year deal with British-based F1 team Aston Martin and Piastri is considered the two-time world champion's obvious successor at Alpine for the 2023 season.

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer said even the greatest drivers like Michael Schumacher were not as good at the end of their careers as they were when they started out.

“There does come a time where something happens physiologically to a driver, and you don't have the same abilities you did when you were younger,” he said.

“I think it happened to Michael. I think it's fair to say Michael Schumacher at 42 was not the same driver he was at 32 or 35. And it happens to other sportsmen too.

“For cricketers, it's not such a physically strenuous sport. It's all about eye hand coordination, moving the bat to the right millimetres such that you protect [the stumps].

"But after 32, 33 or 34, the best batsman in the world can't do it anymore. And that's because something happens to them. And it happens to race car drivers too.

“So we were in favour of: yes, if you're performing to the high level, for sure we'll keep you. But let's do it one year at a time and I think he wanted a longer duration.”

Piastri rejects F1 promotion in stunning move

  Piastri rejects F1 promotion in stunning move Oscar Piastri says he won't drive for Alpine next season, mere hours after the team promoted the Australian reserve driver to replace Fernando Alonso. Alonso surprised the team Monday when he informed Alpine he'll move to Aston Martin next year. Alpine needed just one day to announce it would promote its 21-year-old budding talent to race alongside Esteban Ocon in 2023.But the Melbourne native said that's not happening.

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Szafnauer also denied suggestions that Alonso had not taken kindly to plans being made for him to join Alpine’s LMDh programme, at a time when he still felt he had plenty more to offer F1.

Speaking about that project, Szafnauer said: “We had conversations with Fernando and so did Laurent [Rossi, Alpine CEO]. It was regards, when you do finish in F1, we would love for you to continue with the family and go do other racing with Alpine. So it wasn't really a surprise to Fernando, because he agreed to do that and thought it was a good idea.

“The question was, well, when will that happen? But when it does happen, going to Le Mans, he was absolutely happy to continue down that road.”

Alpine not ruling out Ricciardo as Piastri mess opens door .
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer says the team would have no issue in bringing Daniel Ricciardo back should Oscar Piastri not drive for them in 2023.Alpine have been at the centre of driver market drama this summer after Fernando Alonso shocked the team by signing for Aston Martin, while their planned replacement Oscar Piastri sensationally refuted their announcement and insisted he will be driving elsewhere next season.

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