Fernando Alonso hinted to friction between himself and Alpine by claiming that discussions stalled for a couple of months before joining Aston Martin.
Alonso had been generally expected to renew with Alpine, but the Spaniard and Aston revealed a startling partnership the morning after the Hungarian Grand Prix, just four days after its current driver Sebastian Vettel had declared his retirement.
Alonso discussed the deal in detail and provided some insight into his decision to quit Enstone in his first interview since the news broke.
“I had the phone call from Aston after Sebastian announced that he was stopping at the end of the year,” Alonso revealed. “At that point we sat down and we got to this agreement.”
“I think the project is very attractive… Obviously there is a lot of investment going on in the last few years. A lot of new people came to the team, very talented engineers, designers, new facilities in Silverstone.”
“They were extremely happy to join forces and to have this possibility to grow up together. We felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Alonso highlighted the allure of Aston before revealing that his contract negotiations with Alpine had come to a standstill, hinting that there had been a difference of opinion between the two sides.
“It was a strange feeling,” the double worls champion explained. “For one reason or another, we were not moving forward for a couple of months already and it seems it was a logical move to me, because Aston was very willing to have me and trust on my abilities on the track and off track, as well to develop the project.”
“In my case also, it felt that after all the negotiations and the months, having the seat available for a younger driver and [a] talented driver like Oscar [Piastri] was the right thing to do and a win-win situation seems for everybody.”
According to Alonso, his decision to switch teams was motivated by more factors than just the rumored desire for a more stable long-term contract than the French team was willing to offer him.
“We were moving around in different things and we were not maybe agreeing on on the principles,” he said. “It’s not only the what you agree in terms of duration of the contract, it’s also the trust that you feel and how you feel wanted in a place.”
“I felt that it was the right decision to move to Aston because they seem to really want me.”
Alonso also admitted that he hadn’t informed Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer about his impending departure before the announcement; Szafnauer had claimed to have learned about it for the first time when he read Aston’s news statement.
“It’s true, Otmar probably didn’t know anything, but I informed Laurent Rossi, President [Renault CEO] Luca de Meo, my mechanics, my engineers, before any announcement all the people that were involved in the negotiations,” he added.
“Otmar was not involved in the negotiations.”