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F1 | Alpine say Alonso did not receive a long deal due to his age

Alpine team principal explained why the team offered Alonso only a one-year contract and why he didn't accept the deal

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F1 | Alpine say Alonso did not receive a long deal due to his age
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic - Motorlat

The news of Alonso's move to Aston Martin next year - which he announced after Sebastian Vettel let everyone know that he'll retire after this season - left everyone surprised, because a renewal with Alpine seemed to be around the corner.

The main issue concerned the lenght of the contract, as Alonso would have liked to continue with the French team for at least another two years, while Alpine offered the Spaniard only a one-year contract. Hence the decision of Alonso, who did not want to risk not finding a seat available in Formula 1 after the probable farewell to the Alpine.

The question about Alpine's prudence in offering an annual and not a multi-year contract to the two-time world champion lay in the variable age.

“We offered a one-plus-one deal. And we discussed with Fernando that: look, if next year at this time, you're performing at the same level, of course, we will take you. And that could have carried on" Alpine team principal, Otmar Szafnauer, said.

“But I think he wanted more certainty, independent of performance: I want to stay for longer. And I think that was the crux of the going one-plus-one as opposed to two-plus-one or three-plus-one or three years.”

Then he reflected on how aging is something that happens to everyone and it does change one's abilities, as it happened to the biggest champions of all time, as Michael Schumacher back in the days:

“There does come a time where something happens physiologically to a driver, and you don't have the same abilities you did when you were younger,” Szafnauer explained.

“I think it happened to Michael. I think it's fair to say Michael Schumacher at 42 was not the same driver he was at 32 or 35. And it happens to other sportsmen too".

“For cricketers, it's not such a physically strenuous sport. It's all about eye hand coordination, moving the bat to the right millimetres such that you protect [the stumps]. But after 32, 33 or 34, the best batsman in the world can't do it any more. And that's because something happens to them. And it happens to race car drivers too," he added.

“So we were in favour of: yes, if you're performing to the high level, for sure we'll keep you. But let's do it one year at a time and I think he wanted a longer duration.”

He also said that Alpine had offer him to continue with the team outside Formula 1:

“We had conversations with Fernando and so did Laurent [Rossi, Alpine CEO]. It was regards, when you do finish in F1, we would love for you to continue with the family and go do other racing with Alpine. So it wasn't really a surprise to Fernando, because he agreed to do that and thought it was a good idea.

“The question was, well, when will that happen? But when it does happen, going to Le Mans, he was absolutely happy to continue down that road.”

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