Briatore explains why he encouraged Alonso to join Aston

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso's manager and former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore has been talking about why he advised his driver to split from former squad Alpine and join Aston Martin for 2023.

Alonso spoke last week of how Briatore has been in favour of the move when contract negotiations were underway last season, just before the traditional summer break.

At the time, Alonso had been expected to extend his existing contract with Alpine - only to sensationally announce that he had signed a deal to join Aston Martin instead.

Alonso said that it was because talks with Alpine seemed to be taking longer than they should, and that the French squad didn't want to sign a deal longer than one year.

By contrast, discussions with Aston Martin took just a matter of days and Alonso emerged from it with a multi-year deal to race for Lawrence Stroll's team, citing Stroll himself as a major part of the appeal.

Fernando Alonso (ESP), Alpine F1 Team and Flavio Briatore 20.03.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

It was Briatore who had spotted the opportunity and encouraged Alonso make the jump, as he explained this week to Italian newspaper Il Riformista.

"He is the real surprise of this world championship," Briatore said, with Alonso currently in third place in the drivers standings after clinching four podiums in the first five races of 2023.

It's a remarkable turnaround, not just for Alonso, but also for Aston Martin as a whole which was just seventh in last year's constructors championship. This year it is currently riding high in second behind the dominant Red Bull squad.

"Aston Martin [is] a team that until last year was not competitive," Briatore acknowledged. “Then they raided the number two [personnel] of Red Bull and Mercedes, and are investing heavily in technology and the factory.

“For these reasons, I pushed Fernando to join Aston Martin, which is now in second [in the championship] after five Grands Prix."

Despite the success so far, Briatore is aware that the title is already out of reach and that even pulling off a win in 2023 will take a real stroke of luck - or alternatively a bit of bad luck for the Bulls.

"If nothing unexpected happens then the world championship is already [decided]," he conceded. "But some circuits like Monte Carlo can always [result in] a big surprise.

“Aston did well in the last round in Miami, although it was not exactly a circuit that suits the car well," he pointed out.

Meanwhile Alonso's former team Alpine is in some disarray, having dropped to sixth in the standings with two DNFs in five races and its own CEO Laurent Rossi calling the squad "amateurish" in Baku.

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