Aston Martin wasted little time in filling the seat Sebastian Vettel will be walking away from at the end of the 2022 season. The Silverstone-based team owned by Lawrence Stroll has signed two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso to a multi-year deal, Formula1.com reported.
Alonso will take over in 2023. He returned to F1 after a two-year sabbatical, last won in the series in 2013 but has had a renaissance of late. The Spaniard scored his eighth consecutive points finish of the 2022 campaign, and together with teammate Esteban Ocon have taken Alpine from a low-to-middle of the field runner to one of the second-tier teams considered the next best to the front of the field.
"I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front," Alonso told Formula1.com. "I want to be part of an organization that is committed to learn, develop and succeed."
Clearly, Alonso sees that in Aston Martin -- though at this stage of the 2022 calendar Alpine stand fourth on 99 points, 332 behind Constructors' Cup leaders Red Bull Racing while Aston Martin is in ninth place with 20 points.
Aston Martin, formerly the Racing Point F1 Team, returned to F1 in 2021 after a 60-year absence. Stroll bought a 16.7-percent share of the car manufacturer, after which he rebranded Racing Point as Aston Martin F1 Team in 2021, with Vettel being brought in to partner with Stroll's son, Lance, as drivers.
Alonso, who celebrated his 41st birthday on July 29, left F1 after the 2018 season. While serving as a brand ambassador of sorts at McLaren, the Spaniard competed at the Indianapolis 500 (making the field in 2017, but failing to qualify in 2019 and returning in 2020 to finish 21st), and won the World Endurance Championship in 2018-19 (and two 24 Hours of Le Mans titles) with Toyota. He returned to F1 with the Renault team that had been rebranded as Alpine in 2021 and has made 346 starts to date with 32 career wins and 98 podiums.
Vettel announced on Thursday, a day ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, that after a considerable amount of consideration he would be leaving F1 at the conclusion of the 2022 season. The German was the youngest driver to ever win a F1 driver's title when captured the first of his four consecutive titles in 2010. Over 290 starts, he currently stands on 53 victories and 122 podiums.