The Formula 1 summer break has started with the surprise news that Fernando Alonso will race for Aston Martin next season.
A two-time World Champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, Alonso is one of the most respected drivers in the sport. Fans also have fond memories of his stint at Ferrari, despite never winning a world championship with the Scuderia.
The Spaniard made his F1 debut back in 2001, driving for backmarker Minardi. Since then, Alonso has driven for Renault, Ferrari, and McLaren, establishing a reputation as one of the finest drivers in the world.
In addition, he has tasted success in other racing disciplines, winning the Le Mans 24 hours twice. To go alongside this, Alonso also has a World Endurance Championship crown to his name.
However, after the endurance racing hiatus, the two-time F1 champion returned to the sport with Alpine in 2021. This has proven a mixed spell, as the car can often compete for points but is nowhere near challenging for the title.
In the 2022 season, Alonso sits tenth in the standings on 41 points. Interestingly, he is 17 points behind Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon, who has 58 championship points.
Now, Fernando Alonso is set for a new challenge, as Aston Martin have announced him as their latest driver.
Fernando Alonso joins Aston Martin
The British-based outfit released a statement confirming that Alonso will drive for them from next season. He has signed a multi-year deal, meaning the veteran driver will be racing well into his forties.
“The whole company is very excited to bring Fernando’s incredible experience and brilliant pace and racecraft to the team,” reads the announcement. “The recruitment of a special talent such as Fernando is a clear statement of intent from an organisation that has committed to developing a winning Formula 1 team.”
Alonso comes into the seat that Sebastian Vettel vacated after the German driver announced his retirement from F1 last week. According to Autosport, Aston’s overall project convinced the two-time champ to switch teams.
“The Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win. Therefore, it is one of the most exciting teams in Formula 1 today,” said Alonso. “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.”
Despite the positive statements, critics may query whether Aston Martin can provide Fernando Alonso with a championship-worthy car. After all, they currently sit ninth in the constructor standings, a whopping 79 points back from Alonso and Alpine. But the experienced Alonso has seen potential in the team.
So, who may replace him at Alpine?
Potential Alonso replacements
Vettel’s retirement and Alonso’s move mean that the F1 driver merry-go-round is up and running already.
The overwhelming favourite to take over the vacant Alpine seat must be Oscar Piastri. Currently the French manufacturer’s reserve driver, Piastri is a former F2 champion and widely slated to make the jump up to Formula 1 soon. With Alonso out of the way, he may have the perfect opportunity to get a seat.
Finally, it seems that the talented youngster will get his chance. But this is Formula 1, so don’t rule out a surprise driver switch until an official announcement happens.
F1 may have a long summer break ahead, but fans should still get some excitement from the driver transfer market.
Featured image credit: Getty