Aston Martin’s acquisition of Fernando Alonso for the 2023 Formula One season looked like a brilliant move. Still, it seems the two-time world champion is already showing signs of disagreement with the team’s owner, Lawrence Stroll publically pointing out possible problems at the team.
As Formula One prepares for the Qatar Grand Prix, the paddock is abuzz with talk of the FIA’s approval of an 11th team, Andretti Motorsport. Despite lobbying for a place in the series from 2021, the American outfit has been met with a lack of enthusiasm from most of the existing teams, including Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin.
Stroll: “…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
Speaking to Sky, Stroll said: “The sport is thriving like never before and if it ain’t broke, there’s no need to fix it. Stroll, who has benefited from F1’s growth since taking over the then defunct Racing Point (formerly Force India), seems inclined to restrict entry to the elite circle he’s recently joined.
“I firmly believe that the current structure of 10 teams works excellently and should remain that way,” he added.
Stroll highlighted the sport’s growing popularity, pointing to “record numbers of fans and skyrocketing viewing figures, particularly in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer market”.
Aston Martin has also seen a surge in car sales in the US, making the potential entry of another team like Andretti a concern in terms of market positioning.
Stroll acknowledged the expansion of F1 in the US, citing the series’ three races there and the potential for further growth. “With a second year in Miami and a new race in Las Vegas on the horizon, the future is very promising,” he concluded.
The reluctance of most of the current F1 teams to welcome Andretti seems to be less about the good of the sport and more about fears that another competitor could dilute their chances of scoring points and, by extension, financial gain.
Alonso at odds with his boss
F1 chief Stefano Domenicali is sceptical about the value an additional team could bring to the sport. Lawrence Stroll has also stated that F1 doesn’t need Andretti Formula Racing LLC to join the competition.
Alonso, however, sees it differently. Speaking ahead of the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix, the Spaniard expressed his support for Andretti’s potential entry.
“I know Michael [Andretti] and they would be an excellent addition to Formula One,” he said.
Alonso publicly disagrees with team’s stance
Departing from Aston Martin’s official stance, Alonso made it clear that he would support the move regardless of his current team’s opinion.
His fondness for Andretti isn’t surprising, given that he raced in the Indy 500 under Andretti Autosport in 2017 and maintains a strong relationship with team owner Michael Andretti.
Alonso demands: More on-track action
Alonso believes another team would inject some much-needed competition into Formula One racing.
“At the moment there isn’t much competition between the teams in F1. Even if there were 50 cars on the track, we’d still be competing mainly against one or two that have a similar package to ours,” he opined.
Despite publicly disagreeing with his boss, Alonso made it clear that he wasn’t trying to cause conflict within Aston Martin.
“Whatever the final outcome, it’s all good,” he said, adding that the decision should be left to those in charge, such as the FIA, the FOM and the individual teams.
MORE F1 NEWS: First F1 Team Boss on record rejecting FIA approval of Andretti
As the Formula One teams arrive in Qatar the big topic on everyone’s lips will be the FIA’s approval of an 11th team to join the F1 grid. Andretti Motorsport has been asking to join the sport since 2021 so the FIA was duty bound to open an application route which the American outfit have now satisfied.
With the exception of McLaren’s Zak Brown and Alpine, the other eight teams have made their view clear that…READ MORE ON THIS STORY