Fernando Alonso is to make a sensational switch to Aston Martin for 2023 after singing a multi-year Formula 1 contract with the Silverstone-based outfit.
Just days after current Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement at the end of the season, the team revealed on Monday that it had signed Alonso as the German’s replacement.
Alonso’s contract with Alpine was due to expire this year after singing a two-year deal in 2021, with the two-time world champion recently hinting remaining at the Enstone squad was his “priority”.
But in a major twist, Alonso has been confirmed as an Aston Martin driver from next year, partnering three-time podium finisher Lance Stroll.
“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,” Alonso said.
“I have known Lawrence and Lance for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula One.
“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.
“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.”
Aston Martin will mark the fifth team Alonso has driven for across his F1 career that spans over two decades.
While the team sit only ninth in the constructors’ championship, Alonso is convinced it has what it takes to fight at the front of the grid.
“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,” he said.
“We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.
“The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport. I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me.”
Aston Martin’s executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said: “I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me.
“I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organisation to succeed in this highly competitive sport, and those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone.
“It seemed natural therefore to invite Fernando to be part of the development of a winning team, and we very quickly established in our recent conversations that we have the same ambitions and values, and it was logical and easy to confirm our desire to work together.”
Alonso’s departure from Alpine opens up a seat alongside Esteban Ocon, which is widely expected to be filled by reserve driver Oscar Piastri.