Formula 1: Fernando Alonso to replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin

·2 min read

Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso is replacing four-time F1 champ Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin.

The team announced Monday that Alonso would take the retiring Vettel’s place in 2023. Vettel said last week that he was stepping aside from Formula 1 after spending the last two seasons with Aston Martin.

Alonso, 41, is set to become the driver with the most starts in F1 history later this season when he appears in his 350th race and passes Kimi Raikkonen. He currently races for Alpine and is 10th in the standings with 37 points.

"I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed," Alonso said in a team statement.

"We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.

"The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport. I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me."

Alonso has raced in F1 for 19 seasons and has won 32 races. He took the 2005 and 2006 championships by winning seven races in each season and has also finished third in the standings three different times.

He was absent from the grid in 2019 and 2020 as he raced in different series. Those endeavors included the 2017 and 2020 Indianapolis 500s. Alonso led 27 laps in 2017 and had a car capable of winning before an engine problem with just over 20 laps to go ruined his race.

Alonso returned to F1 in 2021 with Alpine and finished on the podium at Hungary as teammate Esteban Ocon won the race.

His move to Aston Martin to replace Vettel means the team will go into the 2023 season with Alonso and Lance Stroll as its drivers. Ocon is set to stay at Alpine and Alonso’s departure opens a seat for touted young driver Oscar Piastri. The 2021 Formula 2 champion has six wins in 23 F2 starts and currently serves as Alpine’s reserve driver.

Alpine's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (R) speaks to Aston Martin's German driver Sebastian Vettel at a press conference before the first practice session for the Canada Formula 1 Grand Prix on June 17, 2022, at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)
Sebastian Vettel (L) is retiring at the end of 2022 and will be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo by GEOFF ROBINS/AFP via Getty Images)