Fernando Alonso to join Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel's replacement for Formula 1 2023
Fernando Alonso to make shock move from Alpine to Aston Martin, joining on "multi-year deal" from 2023; Alonso will partner Lance Stroll after Sebastian Vettel confirmed retirement; door open for Oscar Piastri to replace Alonso at Alpine
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 01/08/22 6:24pm
Fernando Alonso will race for Aston Martin from the 2023 Formula 1 season, joining the team as Sebastian Vettel's replacement.
In a shock move that was confirmed out of the blue on Monday morning, Aston Martin say Alonso has signed a "multi-year deal" to race for them.
The two-time world champion, who currently drives for Alpine and turned 41 last week, will fill the position of fellow multiple title-winner Sebastian Vettel after the German confirmed his retirement.
Aston Martin, currently second bottom in the standings, hailed the signing as "a clear statement of intent" as they look to build a winning team.
"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," said Alonso, who will partner Lance Stroll, son of team owner Lawrence.
"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."
Alonso last won a race a decade ago but the 2005 and 2006 champion has shown form of old since returning to F1 with French outfit Alpine.
He added: "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.
"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."
Luring Alonso is the latest coup for Aston Martin, who have made several high-profile moves behind the scenes since Stroll acquired the team - formerly known as Racing Point and before that Force India.
"I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me," stated Lawrence Stroll.
"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."
Explaining the Alonso deal and what next for Alpine
It's rare any sporting transfer comes completely as a surprise these days but that's exactly what Aston Martin managed with Alonso, who was barely a name of interest when Vettel confirmed his retirement in Hungary on Thursday.
The deal, though, may suit all parties.
For Aston Martin, they have a like-for-like established star to lead their F1 project and a driver who has arguably been in better form than Vettel for the past two seasons despite his aging years.
Alonso, meanwhile, has the multi-year contract he may not have got at Alpine.
It also opens the door for Alpine to replace Alonso with Oscar Piastri, their incredibly highly-rated junior driver who sat on the sidelines as a reserve this season despite dominating the Formula 2 championship last year.
Alpine were known to be considering Piastri as Alonso's replacement already and he is now clear to partner Esteban Ocon from 2023 - although the team have yet to comment since the Alonso news.