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Szafnauer surprised by Alonso’s behavior before AMR switch

Fernando Alonso of Alpine arrives the circuit ahead of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary on July 31, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Alpine Racing team principal Otmar Szafnauer said he was surprised by Fernando Alonso’s behavior before signing with Aston Martin Racing.

The French squad was ready to sign Alonso, but the Spaniard announced he would instead replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin Racing next year. The announcement surprised Alpine and the Formula 1 community.

Speaking about the situation, Szafnauer said Fernando indicated he was ready to renew with his team before making the drastic change of course.

“There was a paddock rumor on Sunday that could happen,” he said in a press conference at the Belgian Grand Prix. “So not that big of a surprise.

“But the surprising bit was that we went a long way with Fernando and our negotiations with him, and we had good faith negotiations. We got to the final hurdle and Fernando indicated that he [was] ready to sign.

“As it turns out, he was also negotiating with others, which we knew about. He was a free agent and he was more than welcome to do so.

“But the only surprising bit was that it was announced Monday morning after on Sunday night he indicated that there was no need to rush. So that was really surprising.

“We put in front of him a contract we’d be happy with. And like I say, a deal’s got to be good for both sides. So if you go beyond what you’re happy with, you shouldn’t do it, because it’s not good for you.

“So absolutely no regrets with Fernando and good luck to him. He’s gotten whatever that was that’s important to him, I don’t know what that is. Maybe that’s it was [contract length] but he obviously found a better deal and that’s fine.”

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