By James Broughton, August 1, 2022
Fernando Alonso, the F1 version of Jonathan Smith from the 80s TV series Highway to Heaven, is making a very strange move to Aston Martin for the 2023 season. Aston Martin F1 was, in a previous life, Jordan F1. Many buyouts later Jordan has trans-morphed into Aston Martin. No matter what name the team has run under, the Silverstone-based squad has never produced a championship-winning car. Jordan produced a race-winning car for Damon Hill who scored the team’s first win in 1998, Jordan F1 won 4 races in total.
Force India followed and then Racing Point, both exhibited occasionally sparky performance mixed with mediocrity. Now known as Aston Martin F1, since 2021, the team enjoyed sparky mediocre form with the 2022 campaign being either a lackluster mid-field or back of the field escape act. So why would Fernando Alonso want to join this team?
Rumors are circulating that Alonso’s contract talks with his current team, Alpine F1, stalled. Apparently, Alsonso wanted a 2-3 year deal, Alpine would only commit to a one-year rolling contract. Being a proud 2x world champion, perhaps Alsonso felt the deal and method of negotiations by Alpine were an insult.
After all, Alonso is driving better than ever, and at 41 is out-performing his younger teammate Esteban Ocon. Whether the rumors of stalled contract negations are true or not, one thing is clear, Alonso’s thirst for Formula One is yet to be quenched. F1 talks a lot of commitment and Alonso is clearly still prepared to commit.
But the move to Aston Martin is strange because the team, under whatever corporate entity, has never made a car that is capable of going to the next level. And we all know Alonso craves to win one more championship to take his total up to three. Surely Fernando Alonso must know Aston Martin is not the team to elevate him to front-row status.
Alonso’s interest may well have been piqued by Aston Martin’s investment in building a state-of-the-art facility at Silverstone. Aston Martin persuaded a certain chap called Dan Fallows to work for them. Fallows previously served as the head of aerodynamics at Red Bull F1. And of course, Aston Martin is powered by Mercedes Benz engines.
With Sebastian Vettel retiring at the end of 2022, Aston Martin poached Alonso from the shadows of his contract talks with Alpine in less than a week. So, was this a money move? Yes, Aston Martin now has a massive marketing asset in the form of Alonso.
For Fernando Alonso, his bank balance will be fortified with a well-renumerated pay packet. If Alonso wins a championship with Aston Martin, I will give away my Bitcoin.