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Szafnauer remembers Alonso after the disastrous premiere of Alpine: “Age catches up with all of us, no matter how motivated he is”

The first Grand Prix of the 2023 Formula 1 World Cup was full of strong emotions and surprises. Most were nice, but there were a team that suffered much more than expectedand that has not raised its head since decided to do without Fernando Alonso, named best driver of the day last Sunday after his 99th podiumat 41 years old.

We talk about Alpineequipment that barely added two points in Bahrain thanks to a very inspired Pierre Gasly, also benefited by the various dropouts that occurred during the race. The performance of the French team at the start of the World Cup is being the most disappointing of the entire grid (it does not aim to improve much), and the choice of drivers does not seem to have been optimal either.

Alpine He did not want to renew Alonso in 2022 due to his ageraising a lot of controversy for ceasing to have the best on the grid, as its own competitors often point out, and the first consequence was the rejection of Óscar Piastri, who left his academy and joined McLaren (the other big disappointment). They signed Gasly to form an all-French team, and decided to keep Esteban Ocon, record of penalties last Sunday in Bahrain that led him to abandon the race.

However, in an act of pride and complacency, Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s team manager, not only did not back down from his decisionif not that he endorsed it with some words that resounded throughout the paddock at the end of the Bahrain GP, ​​for being unnecessary, inopportune, and inaccurate, insisting on Alonso’s age as a handicap that can take its toll: “I am sure that Fernando is motivated, the question will be age, which reaches us allI have no idea when, or if that’s going to happen.”

The same team leader He left Alonso’s current team two years agoAston Martin, for a “excess motivation, ambition and pressure” in the claims of the team owned by Lawrence Stroll, and who had to see how his own team was made a fool of in Sakhir by others much less powerful, such as Alpha Tauri or Williams, tried to lecture with the age of Fernando Alonsor as an excuse to excuse his departure from Alpine, preparing the ground for a possible drop in the Spanish’s performance that ends up giving him the reason.

However, time seems to have given Alonso the reason with his decision. It was risky to leave Alpine for a promising team that came from the bottom of the grid, But for the first time in his career, it seems like the right decision.especially seeing the lack of ambition of a team leader who prefers calm to demanding in his work. While some dream of improving, others stagnate in mediocrity.

Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz fight for third place in Bahrain.

Alonso showers Verstappen and Checo Pérez with champagne.

“I don’t know, since Fernando is there, I can only see what I see from the outside. I think he’s still very motivated, he lives for this, so I think Fernando’s motivation is still there. Lance was injured from what I have heard, and it seems that Fernando, from what is seen on the screen, was fighting hard for the position” Szafnauer explained at the end of the race, trying to praise the Asturian driver to hide his animosity.

Szafnauer thought that Alonso might not give the expected level, and those who ended up failing were those of Enstone. The season, however, is very long, and the boss of Alpine dropped that Aston Martin would miss Sebastian VettelAlonso’s great rival retired in the British team last year: “I had not thought about it. It’s a good question, I think you should ask Vettel instead of me.”

I’ve been friends with Sebastian since I was 18 years old.and I respect him and the decisions that he’s made, and I’m sure he made them with a lot of information, for the right reasons and for family reasons, so I respect that, but, are you sad to be gone now? ask him“Added the former Romanian driver, with a trace of rancor towards the team that this year has completely ousted them as possible agitators and challengers to the ‘Big 3’ of Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari.

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