Fernando Alonso says there was no involvement from Flavio Briatore regarding the timing of his move to Aston Martin and Oscar Piastri’s talks with McLaren, and that he was both sad and annoyed to learn of conspiracy theories circulating on the topic.
Briatore — a former manager of the Benetton and Renault Formula 1 teams — has managed both Alonso and Piastri’s current advisor Mark Webber during their F1 careers, leading to suggestions among some quarters that he had coordinated Alonso’s departure from Alpine and Piastri’s plans to leave the French constructor without either driver. However, Alonso says he took care of his own business without influence over Piastri’s future, and that he has no hard feelings towards his current team.
“No, not at all, not at all — I read that in the first days and honestly it was quite sad and annoying to read that conspiracy,” Alonso said. “I make this (Aston Martin) decision, I explained why. For some months I had been chatting to the team about extending the contract but nothing officially happened.
“Aston called me after Sebastian retired. If Sebastian had continued this probably would not have happened, the move to Aston. They were very clear and (there were) very easy decisions from my side and what happened after — and what is happening with Oscar, it is completely not my thing. Oscar is an incredible talent for any team and for Alpine and I have been working for him for two years and I wish him the best and also the best for Alpine.
“It’s going to be my team for this year but also my team always in my heart, because we achieved things which were unthinkable when we started the relationship. I went back to the sport also thanks to Alpine, so I only wish the best for them.
“Those comments that I read, they were sad to read. I’ve been doing my thing always. Flavio had been coming to some races but as you may know, with all the deals he has with Stefano (Domenicali, F1 CEO) and F1 and Paddock Club, but not related to me.”
The Spaniard — who admits he was surprised by the Piastri developments that followed his move to Aston Martin — also clarified why Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer was unaware of his departure, insisting he told the team he was leaving before his own future was announced.
“It’s true, Otmar probably didn’t know anything but I informed (Alpine CEO) Laurent Rossi, president Luca de Meo, my mechanics and my engineers before any announcement. All the people that were involved in the negotiations were informed before any announcement from Aston Martin.
“Otmar was not involved in the negotiations and yes, probably, Laurent and Luca didn’t call him before the announcement and he was surprised by that. But all the people that I’d been negotiating with, they were informed before any announcement about my move to Aston. And with my mechanics and my engineers, I took my time to inform them before any announcement.”