Written by Matthew Brixton-Lee, Edited by Megan Hill
The F1 paddock has just begun settling down for the summer break. But not even 24 hours later, F1 is in overdrive. Fernando Alonso has announced he is moving to Aston Martin for the 2023 season. This has caused many people to speculate: why has Fernando jumped ship from Alpine, the team that is top of the midfield to Aston Martin, the team that ranks at best 8th on overall pace?. So, let’s take a closer look at why Alonso chose to sign with Aston, rather than Alpine.
This all started when Sebastian Vettel announced that he would be retiring from Formula One on Thursday. This led to a seat unexpectedly being empty within the Aston Martin stable. Aston had tried to keep Vettel for 2023, however, he decided he did not want to remain with the team, citing family as his main reason for retirement. Aston Martin have always said they are a project: They plan to get themselves to the very top of Formula One and in the fight for championships. However this did not help them persuade Vettel to remain with the team.
The first of Aston Martin’s steps to get to the top of Formula One was to build a new factory, which becomes operational in 2023. This along with their new state-of-the-art wind tunnel, which will also be available for use in 2023, means Aston Martin will have all the facilities capable of making a winning car. And all of this seems to have helped them tempt Alonso away from Alpine. Alonso has always made it clear he still wants to fight to win races. He still has the motivation to fight at the top of Formula One. The only factor against him in his quest for another victory: his age.
Many people believe that Alonso, who has recently turned 41 years of age, is past his peak and isn’t as good as he used to be. Alonso disagrees, claiming age is just a number. His mission is to prove the critics wrong. His choice to choose Aston Martin is proof he believes in their plan and that he believes he still has what it takes to challenge the front-runners. However, it has been known that Aston Martin speak big of their car, but when it comes down to the moment - the car isn’t as good as they say. So why should it change in 2023?
Alonso has proven both last year and this year he still has the capability to give the front-runners a good run for their money. During the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix weekend, he qualified an outstanding 2nd, ahead of both Ferrari’s, the Mercedes’s and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez - all of which had superior machinery to his Alpine. During the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix, in 2021, Alonso claimed his first podium since 2014, though he is still chasing his first win since 2013. He has, undoubtedly, proved his point that age is just a number.
Alonso has a strong belief that Aston Martin will carry him to more race wins to add to the 32 he already has in his legendary career. Hopefully for him, Aston will be able to give him a car that allows him to compete for victories - because for Alonso, it’s now or never. He doesn’t have the longest career ahead of him now he’s 41 years of age, so it’s crucial Aston gives him a car that can compete at the front. But, as so often is - only time will tell.