Aston Martin and Lance Stroll warned about upsetting Fernando Alonso

Paul Stoddart was Fernando Alonso’s first team principal when he entered Formula 1, racing for Minardi.

Fernando Alonso has raced into title contention in 2023, having joined Aston Martin’s line up as Sebastian Vettel’s replacement.  

With the Spaniard finding success again on the grid, his old boss Paul Stoddart has issued a warning to Aston Martin.

“If Fernando’s left to do what Fernando can do, which is be a team leader, drag Lance Stroll up the ladder a little bit, and gets the backing from what is a fantastic team,” Stoddart told the Beyond the Grid podcast.

“I think if you get Fernando leading that team, and being able to influence that team, you’re going to have a happy Fernando and a happy Lance Stroll because, at the end of the day, that team will go forward.

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“If they don’t recognise what a champion they’ve got, it’s to their detriment. Because, if you work with Fernando, you get everything. If you work against him, we all know the results,” he continued. 

Alonso’s ability behind the wheel was on display from his first season at Minardi, as he wrestled the underperforming car to a 10th place finish at the German Grand Prix. 

READ: Mercedes refuse to confirm they were responsible for Fernando Alonso’s penalty

With Alonso only being on loan to Minardi for the season, Stoddart knew his time with the driver on his team was limited, with the Spaniard returning to Renault as their test driver in 2002.

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“He was only on loan, lease – whatever you want to call it – but he was only with us for 2001,” Stoddart said.

“Now, Fernando was not happy about that. He certainly wasn’t happy about doing a year of testing with Renault the next year.

“He wanted to stay in the race seat and I was happy to keep him in the race seat but they wanted him as test driver. My dream team was Mark Webber (who joined Minardi for 2002) and Fernando in the same car,” Stoddart continued.