Fernando Alonso has said his intention is to win again in Formula 1 after completing a shock move to Aston Martin.
The double world champion was revealed as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement just four days after the 35-year-old German announced he would retire at the end of the year. Alonso’s multi-season deal will see him stay on the grid past his 43rd birthday.
His capture is a major coup for Aston Martin, who have moved swiftly to land a big name after Vettel informed them last Wednesday that he would not be continuing beyond this season.
It is understood Alonso initially held informal talks with the British team earlier this year before agreeing terms on a contract that could last up to three seasons. Alonso’s contract with Alpine was set to expire at the end of the season and talks over a renewal had stalled.
“I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front and I want to be part of an organization that is dedicated to learning, developing and succeeding,” said Alonso, who won two consecutive championships for Renault in 2005 and in 2006. .
“This Aston Martin team clearly uses their energy and commitment to win, and is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula 1 today. We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front and that we must use all our strength to work together to find performance.
“The passion and desire to play that I have seen convinces me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport. I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that seem right to me.”
Alonso last won a race at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, but has proven in his 18 months at Alpine that he is still one of the top drivers on the grid – outrunning his machines to secure a front row position in the rain . -qualifying success at the Canadian Grand Prix in June. The 41-year-old has also finished in the points in the last eight races. Aston Martin has so far failed since its return to F1 last year after decades away.
They are just seventh out of 10 in the constructors’ standings after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix – the final round before the summer break. But team owner Laurens Stroll, who last year laid out a five-season plan to become world champion, persuaded Alonso to sign.
Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, had been touted as a possible candidate for the seat. But it is understood that the young German was never seen as a reliable replacement for Vettel.
Stroll said: “I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a dedicated winner like myself. I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organization to succeed in this highly competitive sport, and those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone.
“It seemed natural to invite Fernando to join us in developing a winning team and we very quickly found in our recent conversations that we have the same ambitions and values and it was logical and easy to confirm our desire to work together.”
Alonso started his career in 2001 and has won 32 times in 346 appearances. He starred for Renault, beating Schumacher to two championships, before joining and then resigning from McLaren after just one season following a turbulent campaign alongside then-rookie Lewis Hamilton.
He returned to Renault four years ago at Ferrari where he came close to winning the title on two occasions. After falling out with the Italian team, he returned to McLaren, but the switch proved hopelessly unsuccessful and he took a two-year sabbatical at the end of 2018.
Alonso, 10th in this season’s standings, will team up with Stroll’s son Lance next year. Highly-rated 21-year-old Australian Oscar Piastri is set to fill Alonso’s vacant seat at Alpine next season.
Alpine tweeted: “We wish Fernando the best for his future in Formula 1. Fernando has always been and always will be part of the Renault and Alpine family and we are proud and privileged to have shared so many moments on the track together.
“We look forward to completing the remainder of the 2022 season with Fernando in blue and will continue to push to the max until the final round in November. The team will announce its driver line-up for the 2023 Formula 1 season in due course.”