A few days after confirming the retirement of the driver Sebastian Vettel at the end of this season, the Formula 1 team Aston Martin announced this Monday, not without surprise, that this vacant seat would be occupied by Fernando Alonso next year.
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The team led by Quebec billionaire Lawrence Stroll was quick to replace one world champion with another. Alonso will therefore be the new teammate of Lance Stroll, the coach’s son.
The Spaniard, who turned 41 last Friday, is the oldest of the 20 registered in the F1 World Championship. His record shows two titles (2005 and 2006), 32 wins (6me highest total ever) and, notably, 98 podium appearances.
$32 million per season
In all likelihood, he would have signed a two-year contract, plus a one-year option, at a rate of C$32 million per season.
“I saw this team attract great people who learned how to win,” Alonso wrote on his Instagram account. And I was informed that the organization had great ambitions for the years to come. »
“We are all aware that there is a lot of work to do to reach the level of performance of the plateau powers, he added, but if each one puts all their energy, we will achieve our goals. »
To get to Graham Hill
After temporarily leaving F1 to pursue other disciplines in 2019 and 2020, Alonso returned to F1 last year when he accepted an offer from the French Alpine team. This same formation (ex-Renault) that gave him his two world championships.
In 2017, despite being a full-time F1 driver, he skipped the legendary Monaco Grand Prix event to try his hand at the annual Indianapolis 500 classic.
Brilliant in his opening laps on the famous oval circuit, however he was forced to retire with 21 laps to go when in contention for top honours.
His record also indicates two wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2018 and 2019) and two wins on the streets of Monaco in F1. He attempted another shot at the Indy 500 in 2019, but failed to qualify, thus losing all hope of securing the “Triple Crown.”
The late British Graham Hil (Damon’s father) is the only driver in history to achieve this feat consisting of victories in the three most prestigious motorsport events (Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Mans) on the planet.
To add to his extensive track record, Alonso started the grueling Dakar Rally in 2020, finishing 13th.me range.
“I’ve known Fernando for a long time,” said Lawrence Stroll. It was always clear that his reputation as a winner matched our vision. »
“So it was natural to invite Fernando to be part of our team development,” he added.
Unlike Vettel, the Spanish veteran does not give the impression of having lost the sacred fire.
At the recent Canadian Grand Prix, in particular, he started from the front row, after setting the second fastest time in the final round of qualifying.
Born on July 29, 1981 (41 years old) in Oviedo, Spain
› Starts in F1: 347 (2me all-time rank)
› Wins: 32 (6me range)
› Head positions: 22 (13me range)
› podiums: 98 (6me range)
› first GP: Australia 2001 (Minardi) – 12me At the arrived
› First win: Hungary in 2003 (Renault)
› Last win: Spain in 2013 (Ferrari)
› Frequent stables: Minardi (2001), Renault (2002 to 2006), McLaren (2007), Renault (2008 and 2009), Ferrari (2010 to 2014), McLaren (2015 to 2018) and Alpine (2021 and 2022). In 2019 and 2020 he temporarily retired from F1.
› World Champion in 2005 and 2006
At the Singapore GP on October 2, Alonso could become the driver who has contested the most Grand Prix in F1 history. With 350 starts to his name, Kimi Räikkönen, who left the discipline at the end of 2021, is currently the all-time leader.
1. Kimi Raikkonen (END) 350 starts
2. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 347
3. Rubens Barrichello (BRE) 323
Four. Michael Schumacher (GER) 307
5. Jenson Button (UK) 306
6. Lewis Hamilton (UK) 301
7. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 290
8. Felipe Massa (BRE) 269
9. Ricardo Patrese (ITA) 256
10 Jarno Trulli (ITA) 252
› Contributions: 17
› Wins: 1 (with Renault in 2006)
› podiums: 3 (1st in 2006, 2nd in 2013 and 3rd in 2010)
› Head positions: 1 (in 2006)
Alonso’s departure opens the door for Australian contender Oscar Piastri, who becomes the logical candidate (and probably the only one) to succeed the Spaniard next year. The 21-year-old, who has been Alpine’s reserve driver since this year, has won everything in the development series, including Formula 3 and Formula 2, where he was crowned champion in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
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