• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Fernando Alonso replaces Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin

BySean Clark

Aug 1, 2022
Alonso with Aston Martin

Heading into the 2022 Formula 1 season summer break, Alpine sits P4 in the Constructor’s championship standings, four points ahead of McLaren, an improvement from their fifth-place ranking last season. 

A huge reason for this has been the veteran leadership and experience of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who signed with the French team after taking two years off from Formula 1. 

However, Alonso, whose contract was set to expire with Alpine at the end of the season, decided to leave the team and join Aston Martin on a multi-year deal for the 2023 season, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel announced on July 28 that he was retiring at the end of the season, ending a remarkable 16-year career that saw him win four world championships from 2010-2013, win 53 races, 57 poles and achieve 122 podium finishes. The German racing legend has the F1 record for most consecutive wins (nine in 2013) and is tied with Michael Schumacher (2004) for the most wins in a season (13 in 2013). He still holds the title for youngest F1 world champion (23 years, 134 days old). 

With a seat beside Lance Stroll open at Aston Martin, owner Lawrence Stroll decided to replace Vettel with another F1 world champion, Fernando Alonso (2005 and 2006), who signed a multi-year contract with the team. 

“No one in Formula 1 today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me,” Alonso said. “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 committed to learn, develop and succeed. We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.”

Aston Martin sits at P9 in the constructor’s standings with 20 points, seven behind AlphaTauri. Vettel, despite missing the first two races of the season due to COVID-19, has 16 of those 20 points. 

Stroll has finished no higher than 10th during the 2022 season and never finished in the top five in 2021 a year after snagging two podiums and a pole position (Turkey 2020). Lawrence is hoping that with this move, Alonso can use his leadership to elevate Lance’s confidence and potential for success on top of pushing the team forward on the grid. 

After all, Alonso used his leadership and veteran experience to hold off Lewis Hamilton during the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix so his Alpine teammate, Esteban Ocon, could win his first-career F1 race. 

“I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me,” Lawrence said. “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.”

With Alonso now at Aston Martin, the Alpine seat alongside Ocon is open, but there is one clear frontrunner for that spot: F2, F3 and Formula Renault champion Oscar Piastri. 

Piastri won the 2021 F2 championship with Prema Racing and has been F1 McLaren and Alpine’s reserve driver in 2022 while searching for a future full-time ride. After Alonso’s departure, it seems inevitable that Piastri will sign with Alpine for the 2023 season and beyond. 

Alonso will have nine races left with Alpine for the remainder of the 2022 season. He currently sits P10 in the driver’s standings with 41 points. With a season and a half with Alpine, Alonso has gained 118 points with a front-row start (Canada 2022) and a podium finish (Qatar 2021). 

The 2022 Formula 1 season is just beginning their four-week summer break; then will return on Aug. 28 for the Belgian Grand Prix.