Fernando Alonso’s shock decision to move to the Aston Martin F1 Team next season has left many wondering if he concocted a plan with Oscar Piastri to cause chaos at Alpine, after the Australian refused to replace the Spaniard next year.
Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso announced that he’d be replacing the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next season, despite having held lengthy talks with the Enstone-based team about extending his current contract.
The announcement came as a shock to Alpine; however, they quickly announced that their reserve driver and 2021 F2 World Champion Piastri would be stepping up to replace the double World Champion next season.
Things quickly became ugly, though, as Piastri not long after the announcement was made released his own statement on social media, informing the world that he hadn’t agreed to race for Alpine and crucially won’t be doing so either.
This left the French side absolutely furious, after spending millions on preparing Piastri for a future as an Alpine F1 driver.
It turned out that Piastri had signed a deal with the McLaren F1 Team without Alpine knowing, with the young Australian having agreed to replace Daniel Ricciardo at the Woking-based team.
Alpine are convinced that Piastri is contractually bound to race for them next season, with the situation set to be heard at the FIA’s contract recognition board following the Belgian Grand Prix.
With Alpine effectively losing two drivers across only a matter of hours, people quickly began to question if Alonso had planned the timing of both events.
He was reportedly unhappy about the offer presented to him by Alpine, who were aiming to eventually put the Spaniard into their sportscar programme.
This theory grew even larger when the 41-year-old posted a video on Instagram of him seemingly happy and enjoying his day; however, it was posted moments after Piastri made his statement.
People have questioned if Alonso’s manager Flavio Briatore had planned the saga, with Alonso’s manager being obviously close to him and to Piastri’s manager, who just so happens to be ex-F1 driver Mark Webber.
Alonso has since been asked if either himself or Briatore planned the drama, something he revealed he not only had nothing to do with but actually found “sad”.
“Not at all,” revealed the Spaniard.
“Honestly, it was quite sad and annoying to read that conspiracy because I made this decision and explained why.”
It does appear at least that Alonso’s decision to leave Alpine triggered some of what has taken place; however, the Spaniard believed that none of it would have happened had Vettel not decided to retire.
“If Sebastian (Vettel) continued, probably this would not have happened,” Alonso said.
“And what happened after with Oscar is completely not my thing.
“I’ve always been doing my things and while Flavio comes to some races it is with other things that he has with Stefano (Domenicali) and Formula 1 and the Paddock Club and things. Not related to me.”