Fernando Alonso’s change of scenery was announced on Monday after the Hungarian Grand Prix, at a time when Alpine was still hoping to reach an agreement to renew his contract.
Otmar Szafnauer found out about the signing through Aston Martin’s own press release, and not from the driver himself, something that is not usual in Formula 1.
However, despite the tensions this could create, the French team’s sporting director insists that the two sides will continue to work together efficiently and productively.
“I don’t have any worries for the rest of the season. Our objectives are quite clear. We want to finish fourth in the constructors’ championship at least. I think third place is too big a goal.”
“Fernando realizes that too. He’s a professional. Once he puts on the helmet, you know he wants to do his best.”
“And there’s nothing else that goes through his mind when he’s behind the wheel of a racing car, just to finish as high as possible in every race, and also in the championship.”
“And he still maintains that momentum. It’s what he’s here for. And so are we,” Szafnauer added.
Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso at the 2022 Formula 1 Hungarian GP
Alpine believes the A522 will get even better as the season progresses.
“We want to do the best we can. And especially this year, our updates are going to keep coming. We’ll have another upgrade at Spa, and we’ll keep updating the car until the last grands prix of the year. And Fernando knows that too.”
“And he will work hard, just like Esteban Ocon, to maximize the team’s performance. I have no doubts about that.”
Referring to how Alonso will fare at Aston Martin – working for Lawrence Stroll and as teammate of team owner Lance Stroll’s son – Szafnauer said it was too early to make any such predictions.
“He’s a great driver, one of the best I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “He continues to compete at a very high level. He continues to be quick, also in difficult conditions, which shows the ability of the driver. We have seen that this year. If that continues for another three years, then it will be great for Aston Martin and Ferdinand”.
“I don’t know when his performance is going to drop off, but from a working relationship point of view, I don’t know, I can’t predict it because there are a lot of factors that you have to take into account to be able to predict how it’s going to work. But we’re going to see what happens,” concluded Szafnauer .