Fernando Alonso ‘talks’ and ‘deadline’ made Aston Martin pressurise Sebastian Vettel into hasty retirement decision

Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from Formula 1 earlier this week and the timing of this decision took many of his fans by surprise.

The four-time world champion may well have been in the twilight of his career, but there was little to suggest that he would call time on his career so abruptly.

In fact, it was rumoured that he was in talks with Aston Martin over a contract extension beyond the current season.

However, Auto Motor und Sport has claimed in a report that his hand was forced by Aston Martin who ‘requested’ him to make a decision before the summer break.

This was due to the fact that the team was already in talks to seal the deal with Fernando Alonso of Alpine to come in and replace Vettel at Aston Martin.

The report states that Aston Martin and Alonso had been ‘in talks’ over a deal ‘for weeks’.

Vettel may have wanted to take more time over such a decision, but Aston Martin’s ‘Plan B’ was to sign Alonso and they needed some sort of commitment from Vettel before the summer break.

Alpine was also interested in renewing Alonso’s deal, which is what caused the panic situation at Aston Martin, who were keen to have a quality driver in their line-up for 2023.

What does the report say?

Sebastian Vettel. Credit: roadandtrack.com

The report states: “Negotiations between the team and the driver [Alonso] have apparently been taking place in the past few weeks”.

“That’s why Aston Martin recently approached Vettel with a request to make a decision about his future before the summer break.

“Team owner Lawrence Stroll met with Alonso in the Aston Martin motorhome in Hungary on Saturday,” where the new contract was apparently sealed.”

The news of Alonso moving to Aston Martin even caught Alpine by surprise.

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi and Alonso had apparently not been in agreement over the duration of the extension.

Alonso wanted a deal that would see him stay at the team for at least 2 years, with the option of a one-year extension.

However, Alpine only wanted to give a one-year deal so that it could offer his seat to Oscar Piastri in 2024.

Alpine believed it had upper hand in negotiations

Fernando Alonso. Credit: sportskeeda.com
Fernando Alonso. Credit: sportskeeda.com

As far as Alpine was concerned, the team believed it held all the cards as far as these negotiations were concerned, reputed website The Race stated.

That is until Alonso made the public announcement of his deal with Aston Martin.

“Vettel’s retirement reconfigured the chess board. Suddenly, Alonso had a viable alternative.

“Yes, one that potentially has an even longer timeline to victory that might not be entirely compatible with the decline that will await even as formidable a competitor as Alonso.

“But one that can pay well, value him as he expects in terms of his contribution and that is – or at least should be – on an odyssey to the front of F1.

“Alonso would surely have taken the longer-term Alpine deal were it offered. It’s understood that there were others in the team in senior positions who felt that was the right move.

“But Rossi held firm, either in the assumption Alonso would acquiesce or not caring if he didn’t on the basis that no driver is bigger than the team. Either of those would be intolerable to Alonso.

“This is the outcome.”

Read more: Otmar Szafnauer makes defiant legal claim after Oscar Piastri snubs Alpine for Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren seat

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