Fernando Alonso tells ex-team boss to shut up

Fernando Alonso has hit out at his former team principal following the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

In light of the notable contrast in fortunes this season between Alpine and Fernando Alonso’s present team, Aston Martin, Alonso believes it’s astonishing that Otmar Szafnauer still speaks of their separation with a sense of pride.

Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 with Alpine in 2021, the very team he won two world championships with in 2005 and 2006.

As the 2022 ‘silly season’ approached and his contract with Alpine remained unextended, the announcement of his move to Aston Martin for the 2023 season was revealed.

Szafnauer, then team leader of Alpine, had suggested Alonso’s age as a reason for their hesitation to offer him a longer contract. This led to the signing of Pierre Gasly as Alonso’s successor.

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However, since the split, Alonso seems to have the upper hand. Aston Martin has risen from the middle ranks to vie for the ‘best of the rest’ position, trailing behind Red Bull in the 2023 F1 season.

Alonso has notched up six podium finishes.

Conversely, Szafnauer was released from his duties at the most recent Formula 1 event in Belgium, alongside veteran sporting director Alan Permane.

Alpine, now ranked 6th in the Constructors’ standings, has not seen the level of performance improvement witnessed by rivals Aston Martin and McLaren.

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In a conversation with the BBC, prior to Szafnauer’s dismissal being made public, Alonso commented on the differing fates of both teams, stating that all conversation should cease.

He clarified, “It’s not about feeling disrespected, but negotiations took longer than I anticipated when we began talks in Australia in April 2022 about extending the contract.

“The progress was sluggish, certainly not from my side. I was content and eager. The 2022 car was fast, so I was pleased with the performance and potential future prospects.”

Alonso expressed irritation over remarks regarding his age, which continued to be made by Szafnauer and former Alpine CEO, Laurent Rossi.

He indicated that following this year’s results, Szafnauer should remain silent.

Despite the superior performance of Aston Martin, Szafnauer still seems to approve of their decision to part ways, which Alonso finds remarkable.

He confessed that their scepticism regarding his age and subsequent performance felt somewhat personal, driving him to demonstrate that even at 42, he remains at the zenith of his abilities.

The success achieved thus far with Aston Martin, he believes, speaks for itself.

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When asked if he felt underestimated by Alpine, Alonso responded without hesitation: “Absolutely, and they continue to do so.”

“When your commitment is 100% every weekend, it feels personal when your performance or age is questioned. You feel the need to prove, with even more determination, that you’re in the prime of your career. The results are self-evident, and that’s the best response,” he added.

Alonso is currently third in the F1 2023 Drivers’ Championship, with Aston Martin in the same position in the Constructors’ standings.