Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack says that contrary to rumors, Fernando Alonso has not joined the team in exchange for the status of number one driver or a big paycheck.
The announcement of Alonso's move from Alpine to Aston in 2023 came out of left field at the start of Formula 1's summer break.
The Spaniard will replace fellow multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel, and while Alonso will certainly enjoy a few perks at his new team, Krack's insists his recruit will not have a preferred status over incumbent Lance Stroll.
"Fernando and Lance will have equal status. Fernando didn't ask for anything like that," said Krack in an interview published on Aston Martin's website.
"There's been talk in the media of him being offered things like number one status and a huge salary, but I can assure you Fernando is not doing it for either the status or the paycheque.
"Of course, the package has to be commensurate with a driver of Fernando's calibre and experience, but the speed with which the agreement was made tells you that things like salary or the detail of the deal were not the prime motivators for Fernando.
"He said it himself before the break: when both parties want to agree on something, it only takes 10 minutes.
"What convinced Fernando is the opportunity to be part of a team that's progressing and where he can make a real impact."
While progress is in the works, Aston isn't likely to jump to the top of F1's midfield from the outset next season. So what convinced the 41-year-old to jump ship and opt for a team that, on paper, appears like a lesser sporting proposition than Alpine?
"Fernando is a machine – a racing machine," added Krack. "He's totally focused on racing.
"He's determined to perform and compete at the highest level and sees Aston Martin F1 as the team that will enable him to do that.
"Fernando sees the potential of the team – the new facilities we're building, the people we're hiring, the investment being made, the steps forward the Aston Martin brand is taking – and he sees it as an opportunity.
"Aston Martin F1 is the best opportunity for him to achieve his ambitions."
As a seasoned veteran, Alonso's vast experience will represent a precious asset for Aston. But at 41, the two-time world champion is inevitably nearing a place in time where his energy and driver will start waning.
"I don't see Fernando's age as an issue," said Krack. "For me, it doesn't change a thing.
"He should be judged on his speed and performance on track – and it's clear he's as good as ever. Besides, isn't 40 the new 30?
"I turned 50 this year and people keep telling me it's the new 40. If that's true, then Fernando is only 31!
"I wouldn't rule out the possibility that there are ample years ahead together, if we can make the progress we need with the competitiveness of the car.
"We underperformed as a team last season and this season; we know we must deliver a frontrunning car."