Ted Kravitz reacts to bombshell F1 move as Alpine lose world champion
Fernando Alonso to Aston Martin: Ted Kravitz reacts to bombshell F1 move as Alpine lose world champion
We now know Fernando Alonso will be swapping Alpine for Aston Martin at the end of the season – but why? Sky Sports F1’s Ted Kravitz reacts to the totally out-of-the-blue announcement and what it means for all parties
Formula 1’s driver market unexpectedly burst into life on Monday with the news that Fernando Alonso is to leave Alpine at the end of the season and join Aston Martin, a move that caught the paddock completely off-guard and prompted debate about the reasoning and consequences.
Why is Alonso, at the age of 41, leaving a team for one that is five places and 79 points worse off in the championship? What’s in it for Aston Martin? And what are the ramifications for Alpine?
While F1 is now on its summer break, Ted Kravitz – the Sky Sports F1 reporter and paddock expert – has provided his insight on the move, what triggered it, who it suits and much more after Aston Martin found an immediate multi-world champion replacement for Sebastian Vettel…
Initial reaction to F1’s bombshell transfer
Ted Kravitz: “I don’t think there’s any shame in saying that this was a surprise to everybody!
“Obviously Fernando is out of contract and has been looking around the big teams.
“He admitted when I spoke to him before the Spanish Grand Prix that he would be happy to go to any big team and be a number two to Charles Leclerc or Max Verstappen, so his mind was clearly not with staying at Alpine. Or at best, staying at Alpine would be a second choice to joining a big team.
“So in those terms, maybe it’s not entirely unexpected that he was thinking of a move.”
Why has Alonso picked Aston Martin?
Ted: “For Alonso, if his mind is not to stay at Alpine, and with other avenues closed, he might be looking at what Aston Martin are building up.
“They’ve got a lot of people in from Red Bull, Dan Fallows, for example, has arrived as technical director and has started coming to races, and Alonso will know about him and others.
“He will also know there is money there and he thought this was the best option.
“But what does this say about Alpine?
“Christian Horner, in one of his sometimes not so edifying quips about Renault during Red Bull’s engine deal, would say that Renault F1 are a team that wants first class, but are only prepared to pay economy. Maybe Fernando’s seen that as well?
“Maybe he’s seen that there isn’t a level of investment that he’s seen at Aston Martin, and Alpine are ready to just tick on by, aim for fourth in the constructors’? Does it serve Renault’s wishes just to keep the Alpine name there and compete at a certain level?
“I wonder if Fernando saw a lack of ambition that he hadn’t seen during his time as a Renault factory driver. That’s why he chose to look elsewhere.”
An Aston-triggered move or an Alpine-triggered move?
Ted: “Aston Martin, when they discovered that Sebastian Vettel wasn’t going to drive there, I think they felt they needed a big name.
“They’re a team that has very high ambitions, so I think their point of view was that we could get a Nyck de Vries, or an Oscar Piastri, but these are guys who don’t really have any experience.
“So they’ve gone big!
“There is also the prospect that Alpine didn’t want to continue with Alonso and wanted to promote Oscar Piastri.
“I haven’t seen any evidence of that – it’s not impossible – but I haven’t seen it. All the race team absolutely adore Fernando and he can do amazing things with the car.
“So I don’t really think it was Alpine’s choice to let him go. But then with Piastri lined up, it’s not really an issue for them.
“They’ve got the guy they’ve been wanting to promote, they thought they were going to place him somewhere else, and that’s not going to happen. So the drivers Piastri was going to potentially replace can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Is it a huge gamble for Alonso to drop down the grid?
Ted: “It’s fairly standard Fernando Alonso career behaviour that he is betting on a marked improvement in the next three years!
“That is, though, the other thing I find slightly perplexing about the whole thing, that at best it’s going to take three years for Aston Martin to be able to win races and challenge for championships. By which point, Fernando will be 44.
“He’s fit as a fiddle and he’s into F1 as he ever was, his break refreshed him, and he’s not running out of steam like Sebastian Vettel has. But, really? And is that to suggest Alpine were never going to get there?
“Or, is he just looking for one more team to see what he could do, a different challenge?