How Fernando Alonso’s move solves the Alpine driver’s problem
(Motorsport-Total.com) – The contract extension between Fernando Alonso and Albin appears to be a mere formality in Formula 1. In the past few weeks, both the Spaniard and those in charge of the team have expressed confidence that things will be resolved quickly.
Fernando Alonso beats Sebastian Vettel’s head with an Aston Martin
More recently, on Thursday, Alonso said he thought it would only take him 10 minutes to sort things out. This was appropriate in all likelihood. It might not have been ten minutes before he said, “Guys, I’m gone.”
This was made possible by the vacancy at Aston Martin following the resignation of Sebastian Vettel. List a group of names. Of course, Alonso was also included.
Even before his return to Formula 1 at Alpine, there were talks with Lawrence Stroll about a potential deal. But few people expected that things would develop so quickly, especially in the Alps.
The loss of a rider to Alonso’s experience and competence is a huge blow to the French side. But he also seems to be solving the Alpine problem with Oscar Piastri. Because you were stuck in the classic “three drivers in two places” dilemma that many teams are familiar with.
Esteban Ocon had a long-term contract, Alonso confirmed good efficiency and reserve driver Piastri stood in the first slots for promotion to the Königsklasse.
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said that while in France he was confident that both Alonso and Piastri would race in Formula 1 next year, hinting that Alonso would stay and Piastri would be “eliminated”.
Alonso drives an Aston Martin
Williams was the expected target for the young Australian, who should have switched Nicholas Latifi, but halfway through, McLaren also turned to Mugglescher Zeylort Heuss, if Daniel Ricciardo were to go at the end of the season.
It has been made clear from the start that Albin Piastri does not want to lose. Rossi maintained that they just wanted to loan him out to another team and not let him go completely – which would have happened had he not been offered a Formula 1 place for 2023. Confidence in his future is strong.
So sehr Alpine Alonso auch nicht verlieren wollte, Piastri musste unconditionally gehalten werden. If Alonso went to the chefs and used Aston Martin’s curiosity as leverage for a bigger deal, the interest in life without Alonso wouldn’t have been so great.
The fact that talks have gone on for so long has led to some question marks over Piastri and Alpine’s future together and whether this opened the door for another team to snap him up.
Albin wants to keep Biastrye
Over the course of the weekend in Hungary, rumors swirled that McLaren could be an option if Ricciardo left the racing team – possibly even 2024.
So, if Alpine were confident enough that Alonso would continue, would Bastry have slipped through their fingers by now? As long as Biastri remains linked to Alpine, her priority will be to get him on the grid and build a long-term future after Alonso.
© Motorsport Pictures
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The Ocon/Piastri magazine duo may not have the experience or star power of Alonso, but the prospects are bright. Especially since Alpine will finally achieve its goal of putting one of its pups in a working driver’s seat—albeit earlier than expected.
However, the consequences for the driving force market go beyond the change from Alonso to Aston Martin and the subsequent prospect of Bestre at Alpine. The Alps wouldn’t be the only group that would have the chance, with a very long time planned.
For Williams, it was in many ways possible to bring Piastri on loan from Alpine and give him a chance. At the same time, it didn’t make sense to support Piastri in his development only to let him come back again in a year or two.
If Williams likes to assume the long term and spend money on his personal skills, Logan Sargeant, lead member of the Nachwuchsakademie and currently third in Formel-2-Wertung, is a good choice.
New to Williams?
Sargeant secured the 2020 Formula 3 title by just four points from Piastri and – after financial setbacks – was able to impress his rookie nine-year Formula 2 season.
Williams team principal Just Capito admitted in France that it would give him a “good headache” if Sargent was an option for a Formula 1 place later this year. For the team, whose mainstays are Americans, hiring a young American driver might be the best move.
Another candidate for Williams was Nyck de Vries, who the team had already been considering this year before finally crowning Alex Albon. De Vries is highly regarded by Understood and has won his Formula 2 and Formula E titles.
However, at 27, he may be in the dark compared to Sargent at 21 – and lack the commercial incentive an American driver would bring to Formula 1.
As was the case 12 months after George Russell’s move to Mercedes, the Williams free cockpit is a place to be reckoned with in the ‘silly season’ and should not be occupied immediately. It can also be an option for the driver whose seat is vacant.
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I know the Aston Martin confirmation of Alonso means things may have taken a slight turn for Ricciardo too. The Australian made a clear commitment to filling out his three-year contract with McLaren, which expires at the end of 2023.
Ricardo’s future is uncertain
But Zak Brown’s comment in May about the “mechanisms” in his contract that include an early exit option, calling Piastri and the group of IndyCar drivers who recently joined McLaren’s roster, Chargers and Zermatt.
Ricciardo’s greatest practice is undoubtedly not moving. But if things got to the point where movement was the only option, would Aston Martin have been a viable alternative? This is not likely.
Despite his talent and accomplishments, Ricciardo does not quite fit the cool image Aston Martin aspires to with his Lawrence Stroll-led team.
If both sides’ commitment to keeping Ricciardo at Woking is tangible, Alonso’s move won’t change anything. But in the event that he should part ways with McLaren, there is now one less alternative.
A few days ago, one of the drivers announced his retirement and another will remain in Formula 1 for a few more years. Your decisions will lead to huge introductions in the driver market. They’ve already got the circular spin—just when summer vacation promised some relaxation.
Good to know