Can Fernando Alonso be replaced early at Alpine F1 following his decision to sign for Aston Martin F1?
The Spaniard, who made his team believe that the details could be worked out during the summer break for his extension, actually took advantage of the last Grand Prix in Hungary to strike an express agreement with Lawrence Stroll’s team.
Otmar Szafnauer, the team director, who reacted yesterday (article to read absolutely here) to the Alonso and Piastri affairs, does not however expect anything other than a professional Alonso at Spa. And he therefore does not have in mind the idea of replacing him despite the snub as he affirms to El Confidencial …
“I got on really well with him from day one. And that’s because he’s a competitor, something that I like a lot. You might not know me deeply, but I’m extremely competitive and Similar to Fernando, I want nothing more than to get results, that’s what drives me.”
“My school friends would tell you that they didn’t know anyone as competitive as me. When my father beat me at chess, I cried with rage. I hate losing. I see the same in Alonso. And that trait we have in common means that working together is very easy.”
“I like it, I still like it, and the relationship by the end of the year is going to be focused on beating McLaren, we have to be fourth in the championship. I don’t think we can beat Mercedes and both teams ahead, but we can improve the car and get closer to Mercedes. And it’s that competitive instinct that Fernando has too. It doesn’t matter if he goes to Aston Martin next year. Once you put your helmet, you want to do your best. And I’m the same.”
Alpine F1 is therefore not thinking of any plan to get Alonso out of his seat before the end of the year.
“Not at all. Because he’s a great driver, he performs at a very high level, that’s one of our best assets. Fernando and Esteban (Ocon) score points every weekend. is what can lead us to beat McLaren.”
Szafnauer may be bitter about the situation but he doesn’t want to add to Alonso’s poor reputation in the paddock regarding his relationship with the teams he left. However, he does not deny the very demanding character of the double world champion.
“I’ve heard those stories. For me, it’s the first year, and what I’ve seen is an incredibly competitive personality. If he has that reputation, it’s because he’s so , so competitive that he is ready to do anything to get the best possible result in the race.Sometimes people misunderstand that… I remember in the days of McLaren he was complaining on the radio about the ‘GP2 engine’ I’m sure the people at Honda didn’t like it, but it was frustration because he wanted to do better.”
“In our team it’s the same, a lot of people have worked with him before, at Benetton and then at Renault, and he’s part of the family, so there’s nothing like that, not in our team.