Fernando Alonso is to join the Aston Martin Formula One team in 2023. In a shock move apparently concluded in a short period of time, the two-times world champion will leave Alpine at the end of this season.
The 41-year-old Spaniard will replace Sebastian Vettel, who announced on Thursday he is to retire at the end of this season at Aston Martin. Alonso will join Lance Stroll at the team on a “multi-year contract”.
“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 One today,” he said.
Acknowledged as one of the most talented drivers of his generation, Alonso won his two titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault but has failed to repeat the success. He came close with Ferrari in 2010 only to be denied by Vettel at the final round in Abu Dhabi and after his relationship with the Scuderia deteriorated he returned to McLaren, where he spent a year in 2007.
He took two years out of the sport in 2019 and 2020, when he competed in the World Endurance Championship and won Le Mans twice before coming back to F1 with Alpine in 2021, convinced their programme would give him the chance to challenge for wins. However, they remain firmly in the middle of the pack.
After Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, he said he expected his future plans would be concluded by the end of F1’s summer break but talks with Aston Martin’s owner, Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire father of Lance, clearly advanced quickly and he made the announcement on Monday morning.
Stroll has invested heavily in Aston Martin, the British-based team formerly known as Force India and Racing Point, including building a new factory at Silverstone. They are off the pace, though, ninth in the constructors’ championship, but Alonso was confident they could give him a competitive drive. “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,” he said.
“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.”