Why Alonso’s El Plan Is Now El Unplanned – The Herbert Column

I do sincerely hope this isn’t an impulse reaction from Fernando, overbalanced, or even contributed to, by his frustration at Alpine and teammate Esteban Ocon in Hungary.

Even if it’s just an ill-thought through reaction to Alpine’s somewhat entitled position it truly thought it was in over their star driver’s future, we can be sure Alonso was not happy with the notion of acting as place-holder, for Oscar Piastri, on his way to a WEC return.

Alpine meanwhile have gone ahead and announced Piastri’s promotion to Alonso’s seat for next season, without a single quote from the Australian and all while certain contractual elements are reportedly being cleared up with McLaren.

Right now, Alonso will be revelling in his position having terrifically shaken up silly season, in a similar fashion to Daniel Ricciardo on his way out of Red Bull.

Everyone was talking about Alonso, and Alpine were left stunned. Seemingly no press release prepared, and a young driver *almost* off to pastures new at McLaren.

Laurent Rossi fiercely underestimated his negotiating position with Alonso. The two-time champion is as shrewd a shrewd operator can get on track, and off it he’s pretty feisty to say the least.

In the past, he has had a tendency to let his heart rule his head with the important contractual decisions. See the Ferrari split and enforced return to McLaren for 2015.

A selfish part of me cannot wait to see how Alonso’s ‘say it as it is’ red-hot character goes hand-in-hand with that of Lawrence Stroll – and up against the dynamic of the ‘owner’s son teammate’.

The shock Monday morning announcement from Stroll’s Aston Martin team is a stark reminder of the vigour and intent behind the hugely successful businessman’s rebuilding F1 team. The baked-in future capability and resource at Aston Martin’s disposal is now abundantly clear.

Any doubts over Stroll’s and the team’s future have been well-and-truly thrown in the ghost of social media’s past’s bin.

Gone are the Jordan days of unmanageably losing star drivers to top teams, and barely being capable of keeping paper in the printers. Nevertheless, the team under its Aston Martin guise has badly under-delivered and suffered scathing comments from ex-employees.

On one hand, I can see why Alonso would put his faith, with all eggs in the basket, in the Aston Martin offer of longevity and team leadership. This for what has got to be the denouement period of his career. But on the other hand, a quick check of the 2022 championship standings ahead of the summer break tells a different story.

Make sure you’re in the right place at the right time – if either of these factors aren’t aligned then you’re automatically languishing towards the rear of the field. Alpine are currently P4 in the standings. Aston Martin lie second-to-last in P9.

We know how Alonso can pull sub-optimal machinery into places it shouldn’t be. If Aston Martin can step it up a notch though, he won’t have to. But then again it’ll have to be a big notch.

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