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Alonsos age one factor in why Alpine wouldn’t normally invest in long-term F1 deal

The Enstone-based squad have been on the verge of a freshdealwith the two-time world champion prior to the Spaniard made a shock call to become listed on Aston Martin earlier this week.

Among the key factors in the centre of Alonsos decision to go teams was that Aston Martin was ready to offer him a much longer-term commitment that is thought to be provided that 3 years including options.

Alpine, however, was only prepared to invest in a one-plus-one deal since it wanted some flexibility in the event Alonsos speed shows signs of waning.

While Alonso, who’s 41, felt that this type of concern was unfounded, as he says he could be showing no signs of his form dipping yet, Alpine insists that there comes a spot when things do turn.

Reflecting on which Alpine was prepared to offer Alonso, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said that age cannot be discounted, which is why it wished to protect itself.

It’s hard to predict the near future, explained Szafnauer. Like, I usually say, easily could predict the near future, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be at Vegas.

We offered a one-plus-one deal. And we discussed with Fernando that: look, if next year at the moment, you’re performing at exactly the same level, needless to say, we shall take you.And which could have continued.

But I believe he wanted more certainty, independent of performance: I wish to stay for longer. And I believe that has been the crux of the going one-plus-one instead of two-plus-one or three-plus-one or 3 years.

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, Alpine F1, Pat Fry

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Szafnauer said even the best drivers like Michael Schumacher weren’t as good by the end of these careers because they were if they began.

There does come a period where something happens physiologically to a driver, and you also don’t have exactly the same abilities you did once you were younger, he said.

I believe it just happened to Michael. I believe it’s fair to state Michael Schumacher at 42 had not been exactly the same driver he was at 32 or 35. Also it happens to other sportsmen too.

For cricketers, it isn’t this type of physically strenuous sport. It’s about eye hand coordination, moving the bat to the proper millimetres in a way that you protect [the stumps].

“But after 32, 33 or 34, the very best batsman on earth can’t take action any more. And that is because something happens in their mind. Also it happens to race car drivers too.

So we were towards: yes, if you are performing to the advanced, for certain we’ll keep you. But let’s take action one year at the same time and I believe he wanted an extended duration.

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Szafnauer also denied suggestions that Alonso hadn’t taken kindly to plans being designed for him to become listed on Alpines LMDh programme, at the same time when he still felt he previously plenty more to provide F1.

Talking about that project, Szafnauer said: We’d conversations with Fernando therefore did Laurent [Rossi, Alpine CEO]. It had been regards, once you do finish in F1, we’d love so that you can continue with the household and go do other racing with Alpine. So that it wasn’t a really surprise to Fernando, because he decided to do this and thought it had been advisable.

The question was, well, when will that happen? However when it can happen, likely to Le Mans, he was absolutely pleased to continue down that road.

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