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Aston Martin Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso is in the midst of his best season in about a decade, and it’s all thanks to a decision he made last summer.
Alonso decided to step away from Alpine after two years —technically his third stint with the team — to join Aston Martin. At the time, this seemed like a lateral move at best, and at worst, it looked like it was going to lead to the 42-year-old spending his final years in F1 laboring away at the back of the field.
However, the team cooked up a doozy of a racecar for him and teammate Lance Stroll and the team has routinely been in the top 3 all season.
Now, Alonso is saying the decision to move to Aston Martin is the best decision of his career (and it absolutely is for reasons we will get to in a moment).
Sky Sports F1 posted the quote to Instagram.
Fernando Alonso is a two-time World Champion and one of the most talented drivers to ever jop in a racecar.
Alonso Is Notorious For Picking The Wrong Team At The Wrong Time
He has been known for unfortunately making terrible decisions when it comes to choosing where to drive. All you have to do is run through them really quick to see why his move to Aston Martin isn’t arguably the best decision he ever made. It’s easily the best decision he ever made.
Minardi To Renault
Alonso made his F1 debut with Minardi, a team that was eventually sold to Red Bull and technically still competes as AlphaTauri.
Most people remember Minardi for being perennial backmarkers. As such when Alonso had the opportunity to move to Renault — a team that was competing for race wins and championships — he had to take it.
He won back-to-back championships with the team in 2005 and 2006. However, it was such an obvious career move that I think it barely counts as a decision.
Still, it’s the only thing that might top his move to Aston Martin, because as you’re about to see, his other moves were not great.
Renault To McLaren
In 2007, Alonso moved to McLaren as a replacement for Kimi Raikkonen, who had moved to Ferrari to replace Michael Schumacher.
This led to friction within the team (which was also partially due to an espionage scandal) he and McLaren terminated their deal and he went back to Renault.
McLaren to Renault
Surely he’d see the same success at Renault as he did in his first stint, right?
Nope. He joined a far less dominant Renault team and once again found himself embroiled in a scandal when teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed on purpose per team order designed to help Alonso during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in what became known as Crashgate.
His old pal Lewis Hamilton won the championship in 2008, while Jenson Button won the championship in 2009 with Brawn GP/
So, Alonso decided his best chance at another title would be to drive a car with a prancing horse on it.
Renault to Ferrari
Alonso’s stint at Ferrari included race wins, but it also came during Sebastian Vettel’s streak of dominance at Red Bull.
This was not the dominant Ferrari team that won five-straight championships with Michael Schumacher or even in 2007 with Raikkonen. It was a team good enough to win races, but one that couldn’t quite snatch a championship.
After the 2014 season, Alonso headed back to McLaren in what could be his worst decision yet.
Ferrari to McLaren
McLaren was no longer the dominant team that they were in the ’90s or ’00s. Instead, Alonso and teammate Jenson Button were forced to drive an uncompetitive car.
At one point, Honda started building the team’s power units. This was big because Honda built the engines in some of Mclaren’s most dominant cars during the 1980s and 1990s.
Unfortunately, what was potentially a lifeline to save Alonso’s second stint with McLaren turned out to be a dud, and he had to deal with one of Honda’s misfires in F1.
He stepped away from the series after the 2019 season, but like an action movie star, he got pulled back in and rejoined…
Renault (By Which I Mean Alpine)
Alonso decided to make an F1 return with Renault; his third stint with the Endstone-based team.
The team changed its name to Alpine, and while things got off to a decent start in Year 1, there were signs of friction in Year 2.
Alonso butted heads with teammate Esteban Ocon, but there were also off-track issues with the team. A big one was instability within the team’s leadership.
So, he decided to jump ship to Aston Martin.
Alpine To Aston Martin
Now we’re up to the present day.
While Aston Martin may not be competing for a world championship this year, that’s not his or the team’s fault. It’s only because Red Bull technical director and card-designing wizard Adrian Newey asked someone to hold his beer, then threw down the so-far-unbeatable RB19.
Otherwise, they’d be in contention.
Alonso now finds himself in a car that can compete for podiums on most race weekends. At this stage in his career, that’s incredible.
That’s why it’s the best decision of his career. Sure, maybe he got the championships at Renault, but that decision was an easy one that anyone would’ve made. Maybe he won races at Ferrari, but at Ferrari only winning races isn’t enough.
Things seem to be going well for Alonso and Aston Martin. However, that doesn’t mean it will always be smooth sailing. Most of Alonso’s stints at various teams ended on sour notes with only a few exceptions. Those bad breakups often came after a honeymoon period as well.
Maybe it’ll change, but right now, joining Aston Martin was the best career move Fernando Alonso has ever made.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle