Stay behind Stroll: Alonso’s Contractual Obligations

Following an intriguing on-track incident during the recent Austrian Grand Prix, questions have emerged regarding Fernando Alonso’s contractual obligations at Aston Martin Formula 1 team.

Speculation surrounding the situation prompted a response from Pedro de la Rosa, a close friend of Alonso’s and current brand ambassador for Aston Martin.


Alonso comes back with a bang

After a two-year hiatus, Alonso embarked on a new chapter in his racing career, first with Alpine and now with Aston Martin.

Alonso’s initial comeback with Alpine, formerly known as Renault, was met with excitement and curiosity. The Spaniard, a two-time world champion, had previously tasted success with the team, securing his titles in 2005 and 2006. With a new challenge on the horizon, Alonso aimed to revive his winning ways.

The 2021 season presented its fair share of hurdles for Alonso and Alpine. The team was in a rebuilding phase, focusing on developing their car and infrastructure. Despite the challenges, Alonso displayed flashes of brilliance throughout the season. He showcased his trademark racecraft and tyre management skills, delivering strong performances in races such as Bahrain, where he fought his way through the field to secure a top-ten finish.


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Alonso surprise switch to Aston Martin

After a year with Alpine, Alonso made the surprising decision to join Aston Martin for the 2022 season. The move presented a new challenge for the seasoned driver as he transitioned to a team that was also undergoing its own transformation. Aston Martin, previously Racing Point, had enjoyed a strong 2020 campaign, but faced different dynamics in the 2022 season when Sebastian Vettel sat in the seat currently occupied by Alonso.

Team boss Mike Krack even suggested that Vettel might have reconsidered his retirement had he been provided with this year’s car. Vettel’s struggles last season led to a loss of motivation, and by the time the car improved, his decision to leave had already been made.

Alonso then joined Aston Martin last year, replacing Sebastian Vettel, and the Spaniard has been making an impressive impact, with a series of podium finishes early in the season, thanks to the unexpectedly competitive nature of his new team’s car.


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The ‘Stroll Clause’?

However, recent incidents have raised eyebrows, as Alonso appeared to refrain from overtaking his teammate Lance Stroll on two occasions—during the Canadian and Austrian Grands Prix. The Spaniard had the opportunity to pass Stroll but chose to remain behind him without difficulty.

This has led to speculation that Alonso might be contractually obliged to stay behind Stroll, who is the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll. When asked about these rumors, de la Rosa vehemently dismissed them as absurd, emphasising that it was merely a display of good teamwork.


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As of now, Aston Martin F1 has not provided an official comment on the situation. Some insiders suggest that Alonso might be expected to stay in his position behind his teammate unless a podium finish or victory is at stake. This has led to comparisons with a modified “number 2 contract,” according to an anonymous source at Alpine F1.

The situation is expected to become clearer as the season progresses, particularly if Aston Martin F1 continues its impressive progress toward potential race victories. Only time will tell whether Alonso’s contract includes any clauses that dictate his positioning relative to his teammate.

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