Alonso’s age a factor in why Alpine would not commit to long-term F1 deal – Motorsport.com

The Enstone-based squad had been on the verge of a fresh deal with the two-time world champion before the Spaniard made a shock call to join Aston Martin earlier this week.
One of the key factors at the heart of Alonso’s decision to move teams was that Aston Martin was willing to offer him a much longer-term commitment – which is believed to be as long as three years including options.
Alpine, however, was only ready to commit to a one-plus-one deal as it wanted some flexibility in case Alonso’s speed shows signs of waning.
While Alonso, who is 41, felt that such a concern was unfounded, as he says he is showing no signs of his form dipping yet, Alpine insists that there comes a point when things do turn.
Reflecting on what Alpine was ready to offer Alonso, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that age could not be discounted, and that is why it wanted to protect itself.
“It’s hard to predict the future,” explained Szafnauer. “Like, I always say, if I could predict the future, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be at Vegas.
“We offered a one-plus-one deal. And we discussed with Fernando that: look, if next year at this time, you’re performing at the same level, of course, we will take you. And that could have carried on.
“But I think he wanted more certainty, independent of performance: I want to stay for longer. And I think that was the crux of the going one-plus-one as opposed to two-plus-one or three-plus-one or three years.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
Szafnauer said even the greatest drivers like Michael Schumacher were not as good at the end of their careers as they were when they started out.
“There does come a time where something happens physiologically to a driver, and you don’t have the same abilities you did when you were younger,” he said.
“I think it happened to Michael. I think it’s fair to say Michael Schumacher at 42 was not the same driver he was at 32 or 35. And it happens to other sportsmen too.
“For cricketers, it’s not such a physically strenuous sport. It’s all about eye hand coordination, moving the bat to the right millimetres such that you protect [the stumps].
“But after 32, 33 or 34, the best batsman in the world can’t do it any more. And that’s because something happens to them. And it happens to race car drivers too.
“So we were in favour of: yes, if you’re performing to the high level, for sure we’ll keep you. But let’s do it one year at a time and I think he wanted a longer duration.”
Szafnauer also denied suggestions that Alonso had not taken kindly to plans being made for him to join Alpine’s LMDh programme, at a time when he still felt he had plenty more to offer F1.
Speaking about that project, Szafnauer said: “We had conversations with Fernando and so did Laurent [Rossi, Alpine CEO]. It was regards, when you do finish in F1, we would love for you to continue with the family and go do other racing with Alpine. So it wasn’t really a surprise to Fernando, because he agreed to do that and thought it was a good idea.
“The question was, well, when will that happen? But when it does happen, going to Le Mans, he was absolutely happy to continue down that road.”
Mercedes F1 must remain cautious after Hungarian GP ‘perfect storm’
Why Haas update was more shrewd than just a Ferrari copy
Binotto F1 exclusive: “Each single day” is difficult but Ferrari is united
Wolff still thinks about 2021 Abu Dhabi GP “every day”
The traits that fuelled Alonso’s unexpected Aston Martin F1 move
Alpine announces Piastri for F1 2023, but doubts remain
Alpine learned Alonso had joined Aston Martin F1 in press release
The Saturday morning tricks that expose Alonso’s true mindset
Why Piastri’s F1 attempt to join McLaren has risky implications
Alpine: Ocon has what it takes to lead the F1 team in 2023
How Alpine F1 junior Oscar Piastri is spending 2022
Binotto F1 exclusive: “Each single day” is difficult but Ferrari is united
It’s fair to say that the 2022 Formula 1 season has delivered both the best of times and the worst of times for Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto. 
Magnussen still pinching himself about F1 comeback
Kevin Magnussen says he has gained a new appreciation for the privilege of being a Formula 1 driver over the course of his 2022 comeback season.
Lundgaard: Vettel could expect “tough transition” to IndyCar
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard said that four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel would face a hard task adapting to the demands of IndyCar if he wished to make the switch.
Could late rule changes to F1 2023 floors aid bigger teams?
The FIA World Motor Sport Council finally pushed through rule changes to address porpoising for the 2023 Formula 1 season, amid suggestions the late alterations will help bigger teams.
Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future
Personable, articulate and devoid of the usual racing driver airs and graces, Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes
Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1
Gordon Murray’s Brabham BT46B ‘fan car’ was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?
Hamilton’s first experience of turning silver into gold
The seven-time F1 champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24. And now it’s happening again at his current team
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future
OPINION: Ferrari’s numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere – just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez’s path to a top F1 seat
After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay
Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre?
Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? Pat Symonds considers the alternatives to carbon fibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like