Fernando Alonso reveals that a “lack of professionalism” is the primary reason he made the decision to leave Alpine and move to Aston Martin last year.
Having walked away from Formula 1 entirely at the end of 2018, Alonso returned to the sport for a third stint with the Renault-owned squad, now known as Alpine, in 2021.
However, midway through last season, Alonso was still awaiting a formal contract offer to be sent by the Enstone team when Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement opened up a vacancy at Aston Martin.
The Silverstone side’s owner, Lawrence Stroll, swiftly made an approach for the two-time World Champion and it was announced within days Alonso had completed a switch.
Reflecting on the events recently, Alonso has criticised Alpine’s unprofessional approach, adding that Aston Martin’s eagerness to secure his services and its ambition to succeed provided key selling points.
“The first [act] was that Vettel retired,” he explained to Spanish radio programme El Larguero.
“The second was that Alpine had been negotiating for several months and nothing was ever finalised. We agreed on everything, but the paper didn’t arrive, and I noticed a lack of professionalism.
“At Aston, we had everything clear on Saturday after Vettel’s announcement on Thursday, the role on the table. This willingness to have me seduced me.
“It was an adventure, there was a risk, but it worked out well and the hunch worked this time. There were a few hours with both offers on the table, but I saw more ambition in Aston Martin.”
While Alonso has often been condemned for making the wrong career moves at the wrong time, his latest transfer has undeniably been a well-timed success story.
Despite successive finishes of seventh in the standings since taking on the Aston Martin moniker, the British marque has become a regular podium contender this year.
Alonso has recorded seven top-three finishes this year – the most outside of the Red Bull drivers – and currently sits third in the Drivers’ Championship. Aston Martin, meanwhile, resides fourth in the Constructors’ table, only 11 points behind third-placed Ferrari.
However, Alpine’s attempts to build on an encouraging run to fourth last year have proven disastrous. The Anglo-French camp has dropped to sixth place, a huge 144 points adrift of Aston Martin, and has undergone an extensive restructuring.
Amid the side’s increasingly poor start to the year, Alpine announced ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix in July that both Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-serving Sporting Director Alan Permane would be exiting.