Aston Martin boss open to Alonso contract extension
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 19th October, 2023 - 7:00pm
Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll has not ruled out the possibility of Fernando Alonso continuing with the team beyond his current contract.
Alonso joined Aston Martin at the start of the year, recognising the potential of the organisation under Stroll’s watch, which this year has seen the opening of a new state-of-the-art factory, whilst a new wind tunnel is due to go online in 2024.
Following a remarkable winter of development, Aston Martin leaped up the grid from its seventh place in last year’s constructors’ championship to having the second-best car on the grid behind Red Bull over the first half of the campaign.
Two-time F1 champion Alonso scored podiums in six of the first eight races, including finishing runner-up in Monaco and Canada, since when there has been a drop-off in the car’s performance which has seen the team fall to fourth in the standings.
Despite the slip, Stroll has rightly acknowledged Alonso’s performances this season, stating: “He’s brought a tremendous amount. He’s full of energy like he’s 22 years old.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, he added: “He’s very committed, extremely motivated, obviously hugely talented and a fantastic ambassador for the brand.
“He’s been fantastic as a Formula 1 driver, so I’d say, on and off the track, he’s been a fantastic ambassador for Aston Martin.”
With Stroll out of contract at the end of next season, there is every chance that with a new two-year deal, he could race on until he is 45.
“Anything is possible,” said Stroll. “Right now he has a contract to drive for us next year and we’re looking forward to that.”
Stroll, meanwhile, feels son Lance’s seemingly miserable season is down to nothing more than “a lot of bad luck”.
Speculation has been raised as to whether Stroll Jr is still deserving of a place on the F1 grid given his poor run of form which has seen him fail to exit the first round of qualifying in the last four races, which included a heavy smash in Singapore.
Stroll has also been trounced by Alonso, with the 24-year-old Canadian trailing the Spaniard by 135 points in the drivers’ standings, whilst on average he is half-a-second slower in qualifying.
Whilst Stroll Sr acknowledges Lance “started the year on the back foot with two broken wrists for the first half-dozen races”, it was during that period his son scored his best results, finishing sixth in Bahrain, fourth in Australia, and seventh in Azerbaijan.
Proclaiming that Stroll Jr “really did a heroic job”, he feels that since then “he’s had an unfortunate amount of bad luck.
“He’s had nine retirements due to engine failures, or a rear-wing fail (at the Japanese Grand Prix).”
Only one of those engine failures has occurred during a grand prix, however, in Saudi Arabia in the second race of the season.
Despite that, Stroll Sr added: “Half of the races it hasn’t been anything to do with his own abilities, he has just had a lot of bad luck, sadly.”