After four difficult years with McLaren, Fernando Alonso announced that he was retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season. According to four-time world champion, Alain Prost, the Spaniard’s story in the sport was over back then. However, Alonso shocked the Frenchman when he announced his return for the 2021 season with Alpine (formerly Renault).
Prost, who served as the non-executive director of the Enstone-based team back then, was anxious about Alonso’s return. Even though Alonso had won both his championships with the team in 2005 and 2006, his second stint with the team (2008-2009) had an acrimonious end.
Hence, a third time could’ve proved fatal, as per Prost. But the 42-year-old’s maturity pleasantly surprised him. Prost told Motorsport Magazine (as quoted by Motorsportweek.com), “I was very worried before he came, but he surprised me positively. He was very good, no problems and no political play.”
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The ex-McLaren driver was very impressed with the professionalism that Alonso showcased on his return to the sport and the team. Alonso impressed Prost with his attitude “not only on the track but also off the track”.
However, that relationship did not last too long. Prost departed Alpine in 2021, whereas Alonso himself left the team for Aston Martin in 2023. The Spaniard alleged a lack of professionalism with Alpine, owing to their delayed contract extension process.
Fernando Alonso made a sensational switch to Aston Martin in 2023
As the 2022 summer break approached, Fernando Alonso was quite keen to sign a contract extension with Alpine. However, he blamed a lack of professionalism on their end to retain his services, and as a result, he chose to leave.
On the flip side, Aston Martin, led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, quickly got the paperwork done and poached Alonso away from Alpine. Alonso made contact with Lawrence Stroll after Sebastian Vettel had announced his retirement in July 2022. Alonso revealed that Stroll was very quick to convince him about the project and entice him with a contract.
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Many paddock experts termed Alonso’s move as a career suicide. In 2022, Aston Martin had an extremely slow car and finished seventh in the Constructors’ championship. However, 2023 came as a surprise to everyone. Alonso ended up with eight podiums and a P5 for the team in the Constructors’ standings.