SportF1Alonso signing: what Szafnauer knew, how they negotiated and...

Alonso signing: what Szafnauer knew, how they negotiated and conspiracies

The signing of Fernando Alonso by Aston Martin for the next 2023 Formula 1 season was the end of a relationship that began in the summer of 2020 with the announcement of his return to the highest category of motorsport with the then Renault team.

At the time his departure from Alpine was confirmed, rumors began about how the communication was with the senior officials of the Enstone team, since they themselves were very sure that they would manage to renew the two-time champion.

“We only need ten minutes”, those were the words of his boss, Otmar Szafnauer before knowing the final outcome, he even dared to give a date to officially sign a new contract with the French, which would take place at the Belgian Grand Prix.

However, Fernando Alonso decided to embark on the Aston Martin project, so it was obvious that the question of how he told his team that he would leave once the season was over was going to be present at Spa-Francorchamps after he returned from the holidays. .

“I’m glad about this question. It’s true, Otmar [Szafnauer] didn’t know anything, but I informed [Alpine CEO] Laurent Rossi, president Luca de Meo, my mechanics and my engineers before any announcement,” revealed the Spaniard. “So all the people who were involved in the negotiations had been informed before any announcement from Aston Martin.”

“Otmar was not involved in the negotiations, and probably Laurent or Luca did not call him before the announcement and he was surprised, but all the people I have been negotiating with were informed before the announcement of my move to Aston Martin,” he continued. Asturian.

Why did Fernando Alonso choose Aston Martin for F1 in 2023?

His signing for a team from the bottom of the table makes everyone in the paddock wonder why, to which Alonso gave an explanation: “It was for two or three days, and then it changed. I had this possibility, I received the call Aston Martin phone call after Sebastian [Vettel] announced his retirement at the end of the season.

“So at that point, we sat down and reached an agreement. I think the project is very attractive,” the 41-year-old driver defended. “Obviously, a lot has been invested in recent times, a lot of new people have joined the team, very talented engineers and designers. It seemed like a good project for the future, they were very happy to join forces and have this opportunity to grow together, We felt it was the right thing to do.”

“I think there are risks in every decision that is made in Formula 1. Nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future, just like in any other sport, win or not,” he said. “It doesn’t matter to be fourth, ninth or thirteenth. You are the first, or you don’t win, and I think that all the teams and drivers are here to get to that first place.”

“I felt that within the possibilities that I had on the table for next year, that this was the right one. The project has some ingredients for the future that in Formula 1 are usually synonymous with success, when you invest and have the best, let’s go Let’s see if we can shorten that time as much as possible and make Aston Martin very fast next year,” said the two-time champion.

When did Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin start negotiating their F1 contract?

Before continuing, he was asked to explain a little more about his contract , since many rumors about when the two parties began to negotiate also surfaced: “You ask for too many details! But I have no problem saying that it all started when Sebastian announced his retirement, I think Aston Martin was waiting for that decision.

“They were happy that Sebastian continued for another year. In the end, Seb decided to leave him, and it is possible that they started calling some riders that interested them,” commented the Spaniard. “I was one of them, and I was still available, we started talking that weekend about the conditions they gave me and what they expected of me as well.”

“We got together pretty quickly and fulfilled all our wishes, on Monday morning we signed, and we decided to announce it before any leaks. That’s more or less the schedule of everything,” explained Fernando Alonso.

Did Fernando Alonso want to continue with Alpine in the 2023 Formula 1 season?

The Spanish driver hoped to renew with the French team, proof of this is that in the French structure they were preparing a special version of their star street sports car, the A110 , which would be revealed at the Japanese GP , and even Alonso himself said that the signing would take place in the famous “ten minutes”.

Everything changed in a few hours, although I wasn’t playing with Alpine’s illusions: “That was my intention [to renew], and I didn’t hide it either. In all the press conferences I’ve given so far this year, I’ve made it clear that I was happy with the progress we were making.

“It has been an incredible epic for me, as a team, to return to the category with Alpine, which I consider my team, my family. We have won many things together, and that will be part of our history, and not only the history of the Group. Renault, but also Fernando’s history, what we have achieved together,” he said.

“I was happy, but for one reason or another, we hadn’t been making progress for a couple of months, and I think it was a logical move, because Aston Martin was very keen to have me and they trust my abilities on the track and also out of it to develop the project,” said Alonso. “In my case too, it seemed to me that after all the negotiations, leaving the seat available for a younger and talented driver like Oscar [Piastri] was the right thing to do, it was a win-win situation.”

Was there a Briatore-Webber-Piastri deal for Alpine to lose all of their driver options?

One of the most controversial rumors in the paddock is the possible conversation between Flavio Briatore, Mark Webber and Oscar Piastri to make Alpine not have the services of the young Australian, whom they had prepared in the lower categories after spending many million in its development.

The driver’s agent, the former Red Bull, Williams or Jaguar , had the key to make the French academy the next jewel to arrive in Formula 1, although it seems that he got a place at McLaren after the departure of Daniel Ricciardo of Woking.

Fernando Alonso has a very good relationship with Flavio Briatore , one of the personalities with the greatest power of conviction in motorsports, and with Mark Webber, but he was in charge of denying all the gossip.

“Not at all, I read that in the early days, and honestly, it was quite sad and upsetting to read that conspiracy, because I made that decision, I explained why, because for a few months I had been chatting with the team about expanding the contract, nothing became official.

“Aston Martin called me after Sebastian retired. If he continued this probably wouldn’t have happened, so these were very clear and easy decisions on my part,” he said. “What happened next and what’s happening now with Oscar, as I said, is not my doing at all. I will stay completely out of it.”

“Oscar is an incredible talent for any team, I’ve been working with him for two years, and I wish him the best, as well as Alpine. He’s going to be my team this year, but he’s going to be my team always in my heart as I have said before, because we have achieved things that were unthinkable when we started the relationship,” said the Spaniard.

“I came back to the sport also thanks to Alpine, I only wish the best for them, and the comments that I read, made me sad. Flavio [Briatore] is not part of any of the negotiations, I have always done my thing, and he came to some races. , in addition to having agreements with Stefano [Domenicali, president of Formula 1] and the paddock club, but not related to me,” Alonso said.

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