Two-time Formula 1 World Champion will replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel in Aston Martin’s driver line-up.
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso has announced that he will race for Aston Martin next season, taking the seat vacated by Sebastian Vettel.
It’s a significant statement of intent from the team, as Alonso is widely regarded as one of the fastest drivers on the grid and brings with him a wealth of experience dating back to his debut in 2001.
It also means that Aston Martin will continue to have a proven race-winner on its books, following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from F1 racing at the end of this season.
Alonso is a double world champion with 32 race wins to his name, compared with Vettel’s four championships and 53 wins.
Alonso will be hoping that he can inject some renewed vigour into the team, which hasn’t enjoyed a particularly successful 2022 season, often scrapping for the final points positions rather than the occasional fifth or sixth that it enjoyed last year.
“This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it’s therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula 1 today,” said Alonso.
“I’ve known [Aston Martin chairman] Lawrence and [his son, F1 driver] Lance for many years, and it’s very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula 1.
“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 1 today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me.”
The move means that Alonso’s ‘second’ F1 career, after he took a two-year break following the disappointing years spent with McLaren during its Honda partnership, will take him well into his 40s.
He recently celebrated his 41st birthday, and although the exact length of the Aston Martin deal hasn’t been announced, it’s rumoured that he was pushing for a two-year deal at current employer Alpine.
Assuming he races until the end of 2024, he could surpass 400 race starts, in the process comfortably smashing the existing record holder, Kimi Räikkönen, who retired on 349. Alonso currently has 346.
That said, he will have to be going some to beat Louis Chiron’s record of the oldest driver to start a grand prix. The Monégasque driver was 55 when he raced in the 1955 Monaco GP.