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Alpine surprise over Fernando Alonso switch to Aston Martin

ALPINE have admitted that Fernando Alonso’s decision to switch to Aston Martin caught them by surprise and was caused by a contractual dispute.

Team boss Otmar Szafnauer said Alpine offered a deal for 2023 with an option for 2024, but 41-year-old Alonso “wanted something longer”.

Szafnauer said Alpine’s concerns were that Alonso’s abilities may wane as he progresses further into his 40s.

Australian Oscar Piastri has been named as Alonso’s replacement for 2023.

However, Piastri has since contradicted that claim and says that no contract has been signed and he will not be driving for the team.

McLaren have also had talks with Piastri, Alpine’s reserve and the reigning Formula 2 champion.

Szafnauer said Alonso had assured him upon leaving the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday night that they would continue their talks in the coming days, only for Aston Martin’s news release to arrive on Monday morning.

“We offered him a one-plus-one deal,” Szafnauer said. “We discussed with Fernando, ‘Look, if next year at this time you’re performing at the same level, of course we’ll take you.’ –