SportF1Szafnauer: "Alonso told me that he hadn't signed with...

Szafnauer: "Alonso told me that he hadn't signed with anyone, that I shouldn't worry"

Szafnauer believed Alpine was about to renew with Alonso, and that they would sign the new contract during this summer break.

But despite being told by Alonso on Sunday night of the Hungarian Grand Prix that everything appeared to be settled by the lawyers, Szafnauer said he was surprised when he read Aston Martin’s announcement on Monday.

“It was the first confirmation I had,” he said when asked by how he found out Alonso had signed for Aston Martin.

“Obviously when we’re in the paddock there are all sorts of rumours, and I’d heard rumors that Aston Martin was interested in him. Once you hear they’re interested, there’s probably been negotiations and there are some other indications that they’ve talked. , like getting out of the same motorhome at the same time and all that kind of stuff that I saw.”

“But I was sure that even with the negotiations, and there was nothing wrong with exploring, we were very close to the deal. So yes, the first confirmation I had was the press release. I asked Alonso and he said: ‘ no, no, I haven’t signed anything.’ So I was a bit surprised.”

Speaking about whether he had had any conversations with Fernando Alonso since the announcement was made, Szafnauer said: “I haven’t spoken to him as he is on a boat, I think, somewhere in the Greek islands.

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

“I have taken the opportunity this morning to address the staff at the Enstone factory. And the second thing I am doing is talking to the media. And this Monday I received a lot of calls from other potential drivers.

Szafnauer said Alpine and Alonso had essentially agreed on a 1+1 renewal (one season with an option for another), which would guarantee the Spaniard a seat for 2023 with an option for 2024 and future years.

One of the central elements in Alonso’s negotiations was to stay in F1 for as long as possible, as he felt that a single year was not enough.

Szafnauer said: “There were just a couple of minor points that were pending, and he said his lawyer would get in touch with us. I thought that would be the case.”

“And then, before he left, I confirmed to him that we would be signing soon. And he was like, ‘Yeah, don’t worry, I haven’t signed anyone else. We’ll get on with this in the next few days.'”

And he added: “We offered him a contract for one year plus another. And we negotiated with Fernando saying: ‘Look, if next year at this point you are performing at the same level, of course, we will renew you’, and it could have gone further “.

“But I think he wanted more security regardless of performance, like, ‘I want to stay longer.’ And I think that was the crux of it, that instead of 1+1 he wanted three, or three plus one.”

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