News of Fernando Alonso’s arrival at Aston Martin F1 yesterday surprised the Formula 1 world. when his future team announced it.
It therefore seems that Alonso’s decision was quick and one-sided, Szafnauer not having thought that his pilot was on the start. Indeed, the Romanian suffered, when leaving the paddock on Sunday in Hungary, that the two men could agree on a contract extension.
Finally, Alonso yielded to the sirens of Lawrence Stroll, without having obviously taken the time to warn his current employer. The question is whether Aston Martin anticipated the announcement, or if the Spaniard really had no desire to warn Alpine.
“This is the first confirmation I have had” Szafnauer said a few minutes ago about Aston Martin’s press release.
“Obviously when you’re in the paddock there are all sorts of rumours. I had heard the rumor that Aston were interested. There were probably discussions. There had been other indications that discussions had taken place. place, like getting out of the same motorhome at the same time, that sort of thing, that I saw. But I was convinced that even with the talks, we were very close.”
Szafnauer was unable to speak with his pilot.
“I haven’t spoken to him because he’s on a boat I think somewhere in the Greek Islands. I took the time this morning to speak to the staff here in Enstone. And the second chose that I do is talk to you. And yesterday I took a bunch of calls from other potential pilots.”
“He said to me: ‘I did not sign with anyone'”
Szafnauer confirmed that on Sunday night Alonso told him he hadn’t signed with another team: “I asked him the question and he said ‘no, no, no, I didn’t sign anything’. So, I was a little surprised.”
The former director of Aston Martin adds that he therefore did not expect such an outcome, and even that he was “very confident that Fernando would continue with us as we were very close to finalizing the deal”.
“There were only a few minor outstanding points, as I had said over the weekend and again on Sunday evening. He told me that his lawyer would get back to us. And I believed that was the case. “
“Before he left, I confirmed with him that we were going to sign soon, and he said ‘don’t worry, I haven’t signed with anyone else, we will continue this in the next few days’. And then the next morning I saw the statement from Aston Martin.”
“We were very, very close to signing. We had what I thought was a fair contract on both sides and so did Fernando. It looks like he decided to do something else afterwards.”
What was the contract offered to Alonso
Szafnauer denies that Alpine F1 only wanted to offer Alonso a contract, pending Piastri.
“We offered a one-year deal plus one year as an option. And Fernando was told that if next year at this time he is at the same level, of course we would continue with him. It could have continued. But I think he wanted more certainty regardless of the performance…with three years at Aston Martin. But again, I don’t know, he didn’t explain himself to us.”
“It was the main thing to go on a one plus one contract as opposed to two plus one or three plus one or three years.”
“There comes a time when something happens physiologically and you no longer have the same abilities as when you were busy younger. It happened to Michael Schumacher at 42 – he was not the same driver as at 32 than at 35. It happens in cricket, which is a much less physical sport. And it happens to racing drivers as well.”
“So we were in favor of ‘yes, if you stay at a high level, we’ll keep you’. But let’s go one year at a time.”
Szafnauer admits he’s exchanged text messages with Alonso ever since. He is confident that the relationship between the driver and the team would be strong enough to produce good results for the rest of the season.
“I have absolutely no worries for the rest of the season. Our goals are clear. We want to finish at least fourth among the constructors. Fernando is also aware of that. I texted him. I’ll call him. C “He’s a competitor and a professional and once he puts the helmet on he wants to win. He thinks of nothing else in the car than to finish as high as possible.”
Szafnauer adds that he was “confident to overcome this moment with the team and Fernando in order to finish together”.
All the same, this promises an icy atmosphere when you return from your holidays in Spa!