"It didn’t make sense for us"- Here's why Alpine parted ways with Fernando Alonso ahead of 2023 F1 season

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
Fernando Alonso of Spain and Alpine F1 looks on from the drivers parade prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy.

Fernando Alonso announced at the start of the summer break that he was parting ways with Alpine to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin for the 2023 F1 season and beyond.

The two-time world champion made it clear that he was looking for a long-term contract. The French outfit, however, was simply unable to offer that to avoid the risk of losing their Formula 2 champion reserve driver Oscar Piastri.

Ahead of qualifying at the 2022 F1 Italian Grand Prix last weekend, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi explained why the team decided to offer Fernando Alonso a two-year contract, despite his desire for greater commitment. He said:

“We wanted him to continue with us as an endurance and/or Dakar driver. We spoke about it at length last year. Why did we only offer him two years? We only had two years of option with Oscar. Fernando had a desire to drive longer in F1, which we couldn’t match or we would have lost Oscar. It didn’t make sense for us. More than likely, we couldn’t match other conditions that were offered, too.”
“So, with Fernando, we would have loved to continue. He’s an amazing champion, he will remain a legend of our brand – but it didn’t work and that’s life. We will stay on good terms. He’s an exceptional champion, he’s a gentleman, he’s continuing to do fantastic work for us despite having signed [for Aston Martin for next year]. We’re sad to part ways but we remain family. That’s life. It’s a blow to lose a champion, but it happens. Silly seasons, they move like that. Oscar was not expected. Frankly, it’s disappointing.”

Things backfired for Alpine after Oscar Piastri denied having signed a contract with the team, who announced earlier that the Australian would be taking Alonoso's seat next season. Earlier this month, Piastri announced instead that he will be making his F1 debut in 2023 with McLaren.

Alpine CEO confesses he has full faith in team principal Otmar Szafnauer

Laurent Rossi has been particularly impressed by Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer's work in his first season with the team, emphasizing that he fully 'trusts' the American with the outfit.

OTMAR SZAFNAUER, Team Principal 🗣️ “I know just how good this team is, and indeed, how good it can become.”#A522Launch

As reported by The Race, Rossi described Szafnauer as the hire he is "most proud of," saying:

“Otmar is, by the way, one of the hires I’m most proud of, because he’s delivering every day since he arrived. On topics like that [driver contracts] we stay close. So we knew all of the developments. We would agree sometimes on maximums, limits, boundaries. Because, of course, we need to be aligned, and I need to know. But there was no real disconnection between us.”
“I simply am connected to [Szafnauer]. And I know everything that’s going on. The fact that I’m not around, perhaps confused Fernando. But it’s normal. And it’s going to be even more so in the future. Because Otmar is the boss. I trust him fully, he is doing an excellent job. So it gives me that peace of mind, I trust he is going to continue growing the team.”

Alpine currently stand fourth in the constructors' standings with 125 points to their name.

Quick Links

Edited by Anurag C
Be the first one to comment