Alpine surprise over Fernando Alonso switch to Aston Martin

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said Alpine offered a deal for 2023 with an option for 2024, but 41-year-old Alonso “wanted something longer”. Szafnauer said Alpine’s concerns were that Alonso’s abilities may wane as he progresses further into his 40s. Szafnauer said Alonso had assured him upon leaving the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday night that they would continue their talks in the coming days, only for Aston Martin’s news release to arrive on Monday morning. Szafnauer said he was aware of Aston Martin’s interest in Alonso following Sebastian Vettel’s decision to retire at the end of the season – and had seen Alonso and team owner Lawrence Stroll leaving the Aston Martin motorhome together in Hungary. Szafnauer said he had exchanged messages with Alonso but had not spoken to him since, because he was on a boat in the Greek islands. “I have absolutely no worries about the rest of the season,” Szafnauer said. Szafnauer, who left Aston Martin at the end of last year before joining Alpine, said he was “confident we can out-do the team Fernando is going to during the time he is there”. Szafnauer said Alpine have first call on Piastri for next season, but was unable to confirm he would be able to do a deal. Szafnauer said he “understood” why Piastri would have contacted McLaren in the circumstances. “I’m not privy to whatever pre-arrangement he has with McLaren if any any all but I hear the same rumours you do,” Szafnauer said. Szafnauer said that if Alpine were not able to land Piastri because he moves to McLaren in place of Daniel Ricciardo, then Ricciardo would be “a good option”.

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