Videos by OutKick
With Formula 1’s summer break underway, most of the talk has been about Daniel Ricciardo’s future—or lack thereof—at McLaren. However, that situation only came to be after a series of decisions between two different teams, Alpine and Aston Martin, and the rivalry between those two has been heating up for quite some time.
The two haven’t been in direct competition on track. Alpine in is a tight battle with McLaren for P4 in the constructor standings; Aston Martin would be pleased to finish in P8. But their rivalry has heated up off track.
Some tension started when Otmar Szafnauer left Aston Martin and took on the team principal role at Alpine.
Things settled through the first half of the season. But when current Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement at the end of the 2022 season, it started a domino effect that left Alpine in a bind.
Vettel’s shock announcement was followed by another shock announcement: Alpine’s Fernando Alonso had been poached by Aston Martin for 2023. To make matters worse, here’s how Alpine found out they’d be needing a new driver:
Oof. Not cool.
Well, no worries. Highly touted Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri would surely hop into one of the team’s cars full-time next season, right? No fuss, no muss.
Szafnauer thinks Alpine will maintain its edge moving forward
That series of events left Alpine in the lurch. Szafnauer is confident Alpine will still be more competitive than Aston Martin and he wasn’t shy about getting into specifics.
According to Motorsport.com, Szafnauer acknowledged that he knows both teams well, having spent more than a decade with Aston Martin through its various guises.
“And I know that the people that are there, and I know this team here, and both teams have great potential,” Szafnauer said.
“But as we sit here today, this team is performing at a much higher level. It’s hard to predict the future, but in the near future, for sure this team will continue to perform at that level, if not better.”
He went on to acknowledge Aston Martin’s penchant for hunting for talent at top teams—even drivers apparently—and indicated that Alpine has similar plans. He mentioned that Alpine has an internal program called Mountain Climber that will see the team hire 75 new personnel to add to their numbers which already exceed 850.
Szafnauer cited this as a reason why Alonso may be making a mistake in not resigning with Alpine.
“So I am confident that we can outdo the team that Fernando is going to, in the time period that he will be there.”
There’s surely going to be more between these two teams, and hopefully, over time the off-track shenanigans will foster a true on-track rivalry. It certainly seems that we’re on the way there.