Fernando Alonso was looking for a long-term contract with Alpine, but the team did not offer him. So when Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement and Aston Martin needed a new driver, the Spaniard made the quick decision to switch teams.
The process was lengthy for Daniel Ricciardo, who confirmed on Wednesday that McLaren had expired the final year of his contract. The divorce struck Australian pride, but it was a decision that was expected.
Ricciardo wants to continue racing in F1, but will consider taking a sabbatical in 2023 if he does not find a good option for next year.
“It makes sense, yes. It’s the only motorsport competition I’m interested in. F1 is what I love and where I see myself competing,” Ricciardo said on Thursday. “But not if the stars align.” And it doesn’t matter to me next year and if it means I have to take time to adjust again, that’s the right thing to do.”
F1 free agency reached a frenzy over the summer break, with Alonso leaving for Aston Martin. They are looking for him even at the age of 41, a testament to the extraordinary permanence of his talent.
After Vettel made a decision about his future, Aston Martin wasted no time searching for Alonso. Alonso was hired from 2023, four days after the German’s retirement was announced.
“We started talking briefly that weekend and on Monday we signed,” Alonso said. “I think the project is very attractive, obviously Silverstone has a lot of investment in engineers, designers, new facilities. I thought it was a good project for the future.”
The decision surprised Alpine boss Otmar Szafner, who said he learned of Alonso’s decision through an Aston Martin announcement. Before the Belgian Grand Prix, the race with which the season resumes, Alonso confirmed that he had not informed Szafner.
Alonso had indicated frustration with the team, which had F2 champion Oscar Piastri as its future driver.
“For one reason or another we haven’t moved on for months and it seemed like a logical change to me because Aston was willing to help me and they were counting on my abilities on and off the track.” They said.
Alonso, a two-time F1 champion and one of the great talents, has made other surprising decisions. He left the mighty Ferrari in 2014 to spend three fatal years with McLaren. Now he is turning his back on a team that is ranked fourth in the constructors’ standings, which is ranked ninth.
“Certainly there is risk in every decision made in Formula One. No one has the crystal ball to predict the future,” he said.
Ricciardo, who toppled defending champion Vettel when they were together at Red Bull in 2014 and who came to voice for Ferrari, doesn’t have many great options for 2023. The only option Alonso will leave at Alpine at the moment and Ricciardo is not interested in competing in another series.