Aston Martin, team principal Mike Krack was very impressed with Fernando Alonso’s first day at work for the team, as the 41-year-old got acquainted with his new ride, only days after stepping out of an Alpine in Abu Dhabi.
The deal that took F1 by surprise, when announced earlier this year, pitting veteran Alonso with billionaire boss Lawrence Stroll in the Green Team, prompting many to lay bets on how long it will be before fireworks are lit.
Like in all the previous Alonso forays into new teams, the honeymoon is always glorious with both camps oozing goodwill and kind words, thus no surprise all is hunky-dory at Aston Martin after the double Formula 1 World Champion’s stint in the car, during the Yas Marina post-season test.
Krack reported that Alonso was fast, efficient, and “very impressive” adding: “It was straight to the point at all times. Very friendly, open, and transparent.”
The Aston Martin team principal is clearly a fan: “With Fernando, I always hold up this picture of the Mexican Grand Prix of his frustration at not having finished seventh. This is an example of dedication and motivation.
“So if you have someone with this passion and drive to win, it has an impact on the team. And we could clearly see that everybody was really happy to have this guy in the car last Tuesday. So I think he ignited maybe another spark from his own passion and desire to win onto the team.”
Krack: One is Latin and one is German
In a poetic twist of fate, Sebastian Vettel – who succeeded Alonso at Ferrari when things soured there for him – is now being replaced by the Spaniard as the German goes into retirement.
At a media event at the team’s under-construction factory, Krack was asked to compare Vettel and Alonso; he ventured: “They have different backgrounds. One is Latin and one is German and that makes a big difference.
“What they have in common is the focus – the focus on improving, the focus on making progress and isolating what makes us progress instead of maybe just being detailed,” explained Krack.
While the best is hoped for in the partnership, there are many doubtres with good reason, Alonso is well known to be a stirrer within every team he has been involved with, working most effectively when Flavio Briatore built Renault around his protege.
Because of that, by the age of 25, Alonso had claimed two F1 world titles in 2005 and 2006 – ending the reign of the great Michael Schumacher – but that’s as good as it got as the barren past 16 years testify.
Wherever Fernando goes, there tends to be high drama
Departing Renault for McLaren in 2007 was a well-documented disaster, which saw Fernando return to Briatore’s team famous for ‘Crashgate‘ at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The day the Italian scoundrel along with Pat Symonds, and Nelson Piquet Jr colluded for the latter to crash his car and gift victory to Alonso.
In 2010, the ‘greatest marriage’ of all was supposedly Alonso’s move to Ferrari, after the great but fickle Italian team sent Kimi Raikkonen packing, those with memories that stretch that far will recall Fernando donning Red and declaring that Maranello is where he would remain for the rest of his days…
And indeed winning his first race in Red was a grand start, as was winning at Monza, but when it mattered Alonso was pipped by Vettel (that guy again!) to the 2010 F1 title, and then Seb went on to be unstoppable in 2011, 2012 and 2013 too!
After Ferrari, a return to McLaren was a high-profile flop that halted Alonso’s career for a couple of years in which he won the WEC title and Le Mans with Toyota; as well as a Dakar foray.
That was followed by a return to F1 with Alpine in 2021 where he has been his usual feisty self, making few friends on the grid with his boisterous tactics but delighting his army of fans; the fact that his ‘former’ teammate Esteban Ocon declaring relief at seeing the back of the oldest guy on the grid, speaks volumes.
For the 2023 F1 season, older, calmer, wiser Alonso will partner journeyman-level Lance Stroll, at Aston Martin, the team owned by the rich kid’s father Lawrence which, without wanting to jinx the union, is pure gold for Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ scriptwriters no matter which way it goes.