The announcement of Fernando Alonso’s arrival at Aston Martin F1 yesterday shocked the world of Formula 1. The surprise came even to his team today, as its director, Otmar Szafnauer, revealed that he learned when he was announced it’s his future team.
So as Alonso’s decision was quick and one-sided, Szafnauer didn’t think his pilot had started. Indeed, the Romanian thought, when leaving the paddock on Sunday in Hungary, that the two men could agree on a contract extension.
Finally, Alonso agreed to the sirens of Lawrence Stroll, without clearly taking the time to warn his current boss. The question is whether Aston Martin expected the announcement, or whether the Spaniard simply did not want to warn Alpine.
“This is the first confirmation I have had” Szafnauer said a few minutes ago about Aston Martin’s press release.
“Obviously when you’re in the paddock there’s all sorts of rumours. I’ve heard the rumor that Aston is interested. Maybe there’s been discussions. There’s other signs that discussions are taking place. area, like going out in the same motorhome . at the same time, that kind of thing, that I saw. But I am convinced that even in the talks, we are very close.”
Szafnauer was unable to communicate with his pilot.
“I haven’t spoken to him because he’s on a boat I think somewhere in the Greek Islands. I took some time this morning to talk to the staff here at Enstone. And the second thing I’m going to do, is to talk to you. And yesterday I received several calls from other potential pilots.”
“He told me: ‘I didn’t sign anyone'”
Szafnauer confirmed that on Sunday night, Alonso told him that he did not sign with another team: “I asked him the question and he said ‘no, no, no, I didn’t sign anything’. So, I was a little surprised.”
The former director of Aston Martin added that therefore he did not expect such a result, and yet he was “Very confident that Fernando will continue with us because we are close to closing the deal”.
“There are only a few minor odd points, as I said over the weekend and again on Sunday night. He told me his lawyer would get back to us. And I believe that’s what happened.
“Before he left, I confirmed to him that we will be signing soon, and he said ‘don’t worry, I haven’t signed anything else, we will continue with it in the next few days’. And then the next morning I saw the statement from Aston Martin.”
“We were very, very close to signing. We have what I thought was a fair contract on both sides and so did Fernando. It seems he decided to do something else after that.”
What was the contract offered to Alonso
Szafnauer denied that Alpine F1 only wanted to offer Alonso a one-year contract, pending Piastri.
“We offer a one-year plus one-year deal as an option. And Fernando was told that if next year at this time he is at the same level, of course we will continue with him. We may continue. But I think he wants more certainty regardless of performance…with three years at Aston Martin. But again, I don’t know, he didn’t explain himself to us.”
“It’s the main thing to keep one more one contract as opposed to two and one or three plus one or three years.”
“There comes a time when something happens physiologically and you don’t have the same ability as when you were younger. It happened to Michael Schumacher at 42 – he’s not the same driver at 32 than he was at 35. It happened in cricket, which it’s not a very physical game. And it happens to racing drivers as well.”
“So we’re in favor of ‘yes, if you stay at a high level, we’ll keep you’. But take it one year at a time.”
Szafnauer admitted to exchanging text messages with Alonso since then. He is confident that the relationship between the driver and the team will be strong enough to produce good results for the rest of the season.
“I have absolutely no worries for the rest of the season. Our goals are clear. We want to finish at least fourth in the constructors. Fernando knows that too. I texted him. I will call him. C “He is a competitor and a professional and once he puts on the helmet he wants to win. He had nothing else to think about in the car but to finish as well as possible.”
Szafnauer added that he was “confident to overcome this moment with the team and Fernando to finish together”.
Likewise, it promises an icy atmosphere when you return from your Spa holidays!