Fernando Alonso will replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin!
Wowser. The 41-year old has signed a multi-year deal with Aston that’ll see him line up against Lance Stroll
It’s a good job TopGear.com isn’t a bookie: when we rattled through the list of candidates to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, we had Alonso down at 50-1. And now look what’s happened.
Yep, just four days after it was announced that Seb would be hanging up his helmet at the end of the season, Aston has moved quickly to replace the multi-time world champion with another multi-time world champion.
A statement released by the team confirms only that Fernando will make the switch at the beginning of 2023, and that he’s put pen to paper on a ‘multi-year’ contract.
The move means that Alpine has a seat vacant alongside Esteban Ocon for next year, which leaves the door open for reserve driver and reigning Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri to make the step up to F1.
"I have known Lawrence [Stroll, team owner] and Lance for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula One,” said Alonso.
"I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone.
"No one in Formula One today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me."
"I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed.
"The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport. I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me."
Meanwhile, the big boss Stroll Snr had this to say: "I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me.
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"I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organisation to succeed in this highly competitive sport, and those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone.
"It seemed natural therefore to invite Fernando to be part of the development of a winning team, and we very quickly established in our recent conversations that we have the same ambitions and values, and it was logical and easy to confirm our desire to work together."
What do we make of that then? When TG spoke to Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer about the future of its drivers at Silverstone last month, he reckoned the team wouldn’t make a decision until after the summer break. Alonso, it seems, has made the choice for them.
F1 silly season is officially in full swing. What’s next, folks?