Two-time world champion Alonso has signed a multi-year contract to drive for Aston Martin from 2023 in news that has sent shockwaves through the F1 paddock and set-off a dramatic chain reaction in the driver market.
Alonso’s decision to switch to Aston Martin caused Alpine by surprise, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer admitting he only found out the news when he read the official press release on Monday morning.
The 41-year-old Spaniard’s exit from Alpine was caused by a contractual dispute, with Alpine not willing to offer Alonso the long-term deal he desired.
Further drama followed this week when Alpine named Oscar Piastri as Alonso’s replacement for 2023, only for the Australian to deny that he has signed a contract with the team.
Discussing Alonso’s bombshell switch in his Sky column following last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Kravitz said the move will help Mercedes keep tabs on Alonso.
“What it also does do is reunite Fernando with the Mercedes engine family, which I think is an interesting angle,” Kravitz wrote.
“Fernando hasn’t been powered by Mercedes since he left McLaren the first time round under a bit of a cloud 15 years ago. So this would have needed a sign-off from Toto Wolff, which it obviously got.
“Is it ridiculous to think that Mercedes wanted Fernando back in their family just to see what he was like?
“Should Lewis decide he was to leave for whatever reason, and they need a world champion to put alongside George, would it not be the end of the world if Mercedes had a bit of visibility in what Fernando was like, even as a 41-year-old?
“You might have thought that was unlikely, but as this announcement proves – anything is possible in F1!”
An ‘odd’ move – but is it a gamble?
Alonso’s move has come as a surprise within F1, considering that Alpine are currently more competitive than their midfield rivals.
Alpine currently hold fourth in the constructors’ championship, while Aston Martin are struggling down in ninth amid a difficult season.
Aston Martin have lofty ambitions for the future and are investing heavily in their quest to fight for wins and world championships in the coming years.
At present, however, the move appears to be a clear backwards step.
“It’s fairly standard Fernando Alonso career behaviour that he is betting on a marked improvement in the next three years,” said Kravitz.
“That is, though, the other thing I find slightly perplexing about the whole thing, that at best it’s going to take three years for Aston Martin to be able to win races and challenge for championships. By which point, Fernando will be 44.
“He’s fit as a fiddle and he’s into F1 as he ever was, his break refreshed him, and he’s not running out of steam like Sebastian Vettel has. But, really? And is that to suggest Alpine were never going to get there?
“Or, is he just looking for one more team to see what he could do, a different challenge? It is all a bit odd.”