Alonso remains after burning so many bridges

Alonso remains after burning so many bridges

5 August - 09:01

The recent silly season saga has been a huge talking point in F1, with no clear resolution in sight. Alonso's leap to the Aston Martin drive and Piastri's declining of the Alpine seat has left F1 in complete disarray. We take a look at the double world champion's role in this and how he is stilled favoured by teams, despite his actions.

What happened?

In the recent driver transfer saga, Fernando Alonso was confirmed to be the retiring Sebastian Vettel’s replacement at the Aston Martin F1 Team. This left an unexpected hole in Alpine F1’s team from 2023 onwards, one which they aimed to fill by promoting rising star Oscar Piastri into the seat. In an even more unexpected turn of events, Piastri came out a few hours later to firmly state on his socials that he would not be joining the French manufacturer, negating the press announcement. Since then, no follow-up statements have followed from any of the involved parties.

This has left Alpine completely in a state of flux. To their perception, contract negotiations with Alonso were on track, with even the Spaniard seeming positive to stay. However, not long into F1’s summer break, an official press announcement informed Alpine that Alonso had found a place at Aston Martin, granting him the longer-term contract that he felt he deserved. He also posted a story displaying that he was in Oveido, Spain, not long after Piastri’s firm snubbing of the Alpine seat, contradicting Alpine’s internal beliefs that he was unable to be contactable as he was somewhere in Greece.

The past

How can one forget qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2007? A day forever stained into F1 history, this was the session where Alonso sat in his pit box for far longer than he needed to, holding up and eventually preventing Hamilton from going on his Q3 run, while Alonso was able to snatch pole by over a tenth of a second. This fractured an already tenuous relationship between the two drivers, bringing an air of hostility through the entire team.

On his return to McLaren, he was iconic for complaining about the engine and the overall car’s package on the radio. While he knew full well that McLaren was distant from victory, one could argue that he was not prepared for the slide in performance. These performances worsened as the Woking squad began languishing at the back of the pack. Many point to the years 2016-2018, where Alonso’s harsh reviews of the Honda engine ultimately led to their damaged reputation within F1.

What does the future hold?

One cannot deny that Alonso has had an incredible influence on F1. With two world championships, the Spaniard has raced with the most iconic teams such as Renault, Ferrari and McLaren. One can also not deny either, that his interpersonal skills still need some work, with the most recent saga being proof once again. Teams are never afraid to sign him, however, as they know his signing would bring ambition, passion and an eagerness to fight for everything on the line.

Will Aston Martin be a perfect ground for his final project? On the one hand, he will be the de facto team leader. His character and experience will immediately command respect within the team and grant him the authority he desires. On the other hand, the team itself has suffered from overly lofty ambitions. Building brand new facilities, hiring Vettel and marketing themselves as the classy new team to “bridge the gap to the front cars” hasn’t exactly worked out for them. Time will only tell if we will see a successful pairing, or if the situation to worsen further for the champion.

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