Aston Martin have moved swiftly to announce a replacement for Sebastian Vettel, swapping one world champion for another with Fernando Alonso agreeing to join the team in 2023 on a multi-year deal.
Alonso returned to Formula 1 in 2021 with Alpine after a two-year sabbatical and has delivered a string of impressive drives alongside Esteban Ocon.
But when Vettel announced last Thursday that he was retiring at the end of the season, Alonso emerged as a favourite to replace him given his wealth of F1 experience that includes two World Championships.
On Monday, after he secured his eighth consecutive points finish in the Hungarian Grand Prix and as F1’s summer break began, Aston Martin revealed the Spaniard had signed on the dotted line in what they said was “a clear statement of intent from an organisation that has committed to developing a winning F1 team”.
“This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula 1 today,” said Alonso, who scored the last of 32 race wins back in 2013.
“I have known Lawrence and Lance [Stroll] for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula 1. 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 1 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. We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.
”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.”
Owner Lawrence Stroll said: “I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me. 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.
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“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.”
Team Principal Mike Krack added: “I have witnessed the excitement in the engineering team and throughout the whole organisation at the opportunity to work with Fernando. We know that nearly everyone can learn from someone of Fernando’s calibre and experience.
“We are confident that he will inspire everyone to lift their game, and that will only enhance the already infectious energy that exists within the team. We are on a journey to create a winning organisation, and it is clear that Fernando will accelerate our progress and bring us to a performance in which we can take pride.
“We are delighted to have Fernando and Lance as our driver line-up next year – the combination of experience and youth will be incredibly strong and both drivers look forward to competing and working together. The team has a new leadership focused on the development of AMR23, and we are all thrilled that they and our future projects will benefit from the knowledge and experience that Fernando will bring.”