Team principal Otmar Szafnauer says Alpine doesn’t feel let down by Fernando Alonso despite him leaving for Aston Martin with little warning.
Alonso had been in negotiations about a new deal at Alpine but wanted a longer contract than the initial one year on offer, and had not agreed terms with his existing team when leaving the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break. The following morning he was confirmed as an Aston Martin driver on a multi-year deal but Szafnauer says it was the Spaniard’s prerogative to look for the best terms he could get.
“No, not at all,” Szafnauer said. “He’s a free agent; there’s no obligation on Fernando’s part to do anything else than to do what is right for himself. A deal has to be good for both sides and if he found a deal that was better for him, he should pursue it. We had negotiations with him in good faith and we thought we were close to having a deal on both sides, but no, he was a free agent and free to do what he did.”
Szafnauer says he was aware that Alonso could take another offer as he had heard whispers on the final day in Budapest but he wasn’t expecting any movement to come so soon after that race.
“There was paddock rumor on Sunday that [it] could happen, so not that big a surprise. The surprising bit was that we went a long way in our negotiations with Fernando, and we had good faith negotiations. We got to the final hurdle and Fernando indicated that he was ready to sign.
“As it turns out, he was also negotiating with others, which we knew about. The only surprising bit was that it was announced Monday morning after, on Sunday night, he indicated there was no need to rush. So that was the only surprising bit.”