until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Alonso threatens ‘consequences’ over Aston/Red Bull rumour

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
5 min read

Fernando Alonso has threatened “consequences” after some cryptic rumour-mongering in the Formula 1 paddock led to suggestions he could switch from Aston Martin to Red Bull.

An ambiguous tweet from an established Spanish F1 journalist was subsequently interpreted as a hint that Alonso could leave Aston Martin after only one season in a seat swap with under pressure Red Bull driver Sergio Perez.

Other assumptions were that two-time world champion Alonso could be on the brink of retiring again, following Aston Martin’s slump in form through 2023.

Although Alonso was not named in the original tweet, he was in some articles that have since been published in response to it, and has inevitably been the subject of wild and persistent speculation on social media since.

At the Brazilian Grand Prix on Thursday, Alonso made it clear that he did not take kindly to people stirring things up, and even went as far as claiming: “I will make sure that there are consequences.”


Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, F1

Alonso, now 42, is coming to the end of his first season at Aston Martin – a year that has surpassed all realistic expectations.

It began with Alonso as Red Bull’s primary challenger, and he has scored seven podiums. That’s only one fewer than Perez has managed in the same Red Bull that Max Verstappen has absolutely dominated the championship with.

There is little doubt that Alonso is still driving at an extremely high level, whereas Perez is under constant scrutiny at the back end of a season that started very brightly before fading badly.

He is limping to the finish line in second in the drivers’ championship and caused his own retirement in his home race last weekend after turning into Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari at the first corner.

Though Red Bull has reiterated its “intention” for Perez to drive in 2024, as he is under contract, and this is believed to be the team’s preference, it is also widely considered possible that Perez could be replaced should the team lose faith.

Alonso is under contract at Aston Martin for at least 2024 so would be an expensive and extremely surprising candidate were Red Bull to oust Perez after all.

Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, F1

It always seemed an absurdly unlikely prospect and Alonso has dismissed it emphatically.

“Just rumours, normal paddock rumours from people that just try to make fun of it and gain some followers and these kinds of things,” Alonso said.

“But I'm not into that game.”

It appears Alonso has paid attention to what has been said or written by whom on this matter as well.

When stressing he was not “enjoying” what has happened, he made a point of specifying it was not anybody in attendance at his written media session in the Interlagos paddock on Thursday.

“Even in this room, I appreciate that all of you are journalists, professional people that have been in Formula 1 for so many years, and you gain your respect, and this is how it should be,” Alonso said.

“So, all the rumours are coming from people that are not in this room.

“They are just here to make fun. And I think it's not funny when they play with anything.”


Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, F1

Alonso has repeated a consistent message that 2023 has been a “super season” but admits the team has not been “as competitive as we wanted” and that “no one is happy” with recent results.

Though the overall 2023 narrative has been extremely positive for Alonso and Aston Martin the trajectory the team is on has been problematic for several months.

The strong start has faded into midfield obscurity. In the first nine events, the team scored 175 points, but it has added just 61 points to that tally in the 10 events since.

Various upgrades have not worked as expected, either by inducing negative side-effects in terms of car characteristics or simply by not adding as much performance as hoped.

That has led Aston Martin to be overhauled by Mercedes and Ferrari, as was largely expected early in the year, but also McLaren and to a degree Alpine.

Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, F1

This downturn in form has looked most problematic in the last two weekends where the team has opted for pitlane starts so it can make set-up changes (for both cars in Austin and only Lance Stroll’s in Mexico).

“We are analysing some of the upgrades that we brought lately, here in Brazil we have a sprint format so maybe it's a more traditional weekend for us, not experimenting as much as the last two,” Alonso said.

“Obviously we are not happy. No one is happy with the current form.

“But at the same time, this team was 250 people two years ago, now we are in this transition to be hopefully a contender for the future - 800 people, new factory, seven podiums this year, 200 points more than last year, all these kinds of things which are not the current form.

“We should not be happy [with recent form] but we cannot even be too dramatic about this situation, when this 2023 campaign has been a super-season for us.”


Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, F1

A key theme of the point-less Mexico weekend for Aston Martin was both drivers lamenting a lack of grip and confidence in the car.

Alonso says that part of the solution is using a “combination” of the old and new floor this weekend in Brazil, having got some “clear idea and some better conclusions of the package and which parts are working better in certain circuits, in certain corners”.

His hope is that this weekend will be more straightforward but indicated there will be further experiments at the final round in Abu Dhabi.

“We've had some more issues now than maybe at the beginning of the year,” he said.

“The grid is tighter now, so at the beginning even if the car felt not perfectly comfortable, you back off one tenth of a second and you're still P5 or whatever. Now if you back off one tenth of a second, you lose three or four positions.

“We are much more on the limit now.

“We have a sprint format again here, it's going to hopefully be a little bit calmer in terms of changes, set-up experiments, all the data that we try to give to the factory.

“Hopefully this weekend is a little bit more normal, and then we have obviously Las Vegas, a new circuit, which we will try to do as many laps as possible for the driver more than anything, and then Abu Dhabi could be a little bit more of a test again.”

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