Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack says the side remains grateful that Alpine failed to tie down Fernando Alonso last year due to concerns regarding his age.
Alonso returned to Formula 1 after two years away in 2021 for a third stint with the Renault-owned team he had previously won his two World Championship titles with, now under the guise of Alpine.
Despite showcasing throughout the second season of his comeback that he continued to be performing at an elite level, Alpine dithered over contract negotiations.
Rumours emerged that Alpine was intent on only offering a one-year deal with an option included amid concerns about Alonso’s age rather than the guaranteed multi-year agreement the driver was searching for.
Eventually, Alonso benefitted from Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement to complete a surprise switch to Aston Martin, with the Spaniard revealing recently he was enthused by the commitment and the ambition shown by the Silverstone camp.
Krack alleviates no doubt about Alonso, 42, remaining at the top level, asserting that the thinking behind athletes dropping away with age is now an outdated belief.
“I think, with the right discipline and the right motivation, he will perform without problems. You look at Valentino Rossi, for example, or you look at tennis players, [like Roger] Federer, he had a very long career,” Krack told the Spanish side of Motorsport.com.
“So I think maybe we also have to change our mentality a little bit, that thinking today I think is hugely overrated.
“When you see the desire… I’ve worked with riders who weren’t even 30 years old and said ‘I’ve achieved everything’, you know, even though they haven’t really achieved much. And then you have an example like him, with a great mentality and huge determination.
“[Internally] we’re not even talking about that [his age]. It’s you guys. You know, we have two riders who are very focused and we don’t really think about that.”
After Alonso blasted Alpine for a “lack of professionalism”, Krack believes Alpine’s hesitation made it easier for Aston Martin to secure the two-time champion’s services.
“I think it was lucky for us that their previous team [Alpine] created a great story with that theme, wasn’t it? And that’s what made it easier for us,” he added.
While Alpine instantly sought to slot in then-reserve driver Oscar Piastri alongside Esteban Ocon for 2022, the Enstone squad were then stung by the revelation the Australian would be heading to McLaren.
Alpine finally agreed on a deal with Red Bull to prize Pierre Gasly away from AlphaTauri, but the Anglo-French outfit has largely endured a miserable campaign.
Having aimed to consolidate the fourth position it earned last year, Alpine has slipped back to sixth in the Constructors’ Championship with only 73 points.
Meanwhile, Aston Martin has enjoyed a competitive resurgence in the third year since its rebrand to sit fourth in the standings, a huge 144 points clear of Alpine.
Alonso has scooped seven podiums in the AMR23, the most of any driver outside the two Red Bulls, to lie third overall.