Was Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin deal really made after Sebastian Vettel resigned? According to former Formula 1 driver Pedro de la Rosa, it only took a few hours as he reveals juicy details of the deal in an interview for the Spanish edition of motorsport.com. Just four days elapsed between Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement and Fernando Alonso’s announced switch from Alpine to Aston Martin.
Did the two-time world champion, who says he only needs “ten minutes” to negotiate a contract, really sign on such short notice or had something been up for a while? If you believe the statements of Alonso’s compatriot Pedro de la Rosa, who was recently signed on by the team as an ambassador, then it really did happen that quickly.
Alonso & Aston Martin came together “within a couple of hours”
“There was no plan for the signing,” he affirms in an interview with the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com during a presentation by Movistar +. But Vettel’s departure had left “a gap” that the team then wanted to fill.
The signing of Alonso was then “rushed through within a few hours” before the Spaniard was presented as the new regular driver for 2023 on Monday after the Hungarian race.
Alonso can serve as a motivator for Aston Martin
Alonso has already made his debut for his new employer this year. The Spaniard could hardly wait to finish the season with Alpine and was already seen in green during the test drives in Abu Dhabi after the season finale.
Team boss Mike Krack praised Alonso’s debut as “very impressive” and also emphasised the motivation that the 41-year-old brings with him.
This was also recognised by de la Rosa: “I saw Fernando on his debut in different teams and I saw the real Fernando of 20 years, super motivated, very professional, hardworking, precise, meticulous and a great motivator,” he said.
“It’s not just about being fast, which Fernando is, but above all it’s about knowing how to transmit, how to motivate, how to work in a team,” the former Formula One driver said. “And I think Fernando is a very complete driver in all those areas.”
That’s also very important for a team like Aston Martin, he added. They lost a four-time world champion with Vettel, but were able to immediately sign a “super champion”, as de la Rosa says, as a replacement.
Can Alonso get along with Stroll at Aston Martin?
One important question many are asking is how Alonso will get on with his new team-mate Lance Stroll, after recent friction with Esteban Ocon at Alpine.
Stroll, too, is not necessarily considered the easiest of characters, having already caused an accident with Alonso in Austin and has the bonus of being the son of the team owner.
“In the end, when it comes to a relationship with a teammate, it’s not only the team that matters, but also the drivers themselves and the respect between them,” says de la Rosa.
He believes, “They will get along well. They are both very experienced drivers. You shouldn’t underestimate Stroll’s experience and speed because it will be his seventh season,” says the Spaniard. “I think it will be a very good pairing.”