The reason Aston Martin wants Fernando Alonso is not his talent as a driver. It’s your fame

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On the morning of August 1, 2022, news has shaken the calm of Formula 1. Fernando Alonso signs for Aston Martin. The Asturian will fill the gap left by Sebastian Vettel with his withdrawal and clearly shows why brands continue to want to be part of a sport that travels against the current: marketing.

Although since his signing by Alpine was announced in July 2021, reference was made to a long term projectthe truth is that there were doubts that Fernando Alonso would find in his old team a place to live his last years in Formula 1.

He has never expressed it clearly, but the Spaniard had to be as aware as any fan of this sport that getting a car to fight for victories it was little short of a chimera. In fact, they had to fight to engage fans with “The Plan” which, as Alonso himself later confirmed: “part of the plan is not knowing what The Plan is. That’s The Plan: scaring the shit out of not knowing.”

Closed the doors of the big teams, who consider that having Fernando Alonso in their squad could generate more tension than real benefits, the two-time champion only has the mid-table teams left. And, among them, only those who can afford to pay a significant sum of money for their particular marketing strategy.

If Alpine has tried for two years, Aston-Martin It will be the next team that will have Alonso in its squad. The company is going through low hours and has bet everything on Formula 1 to improve its image, sell more cars and sweetly transition to the electric vehicle. And right now it’s on the wrong track.

Fernando Alonso, a risky value

When one looks back, look at the statistics and listen to the rest of the drivers, it seems incomprehensible to him that Fernando Alonso only has two Formula 1 drivers’ world championships. And that he won the last one 16 years ago.

Since then, his bad decisions and his temperament have separated him from several world titles. In 2007, McLaren badly managed the position of the reigning world champion and a promising rookie: Lewis Hamilton. So, both drivers lost the championship in favor of Kimi Räikkönen and led to a painful exit from the Spanish to Renault, where he walked for two years through a desert where the only oasis was a victory that, in addition, ended Flavio Briatore out of Formula 1, accused of purposely crashing Nelson Piquet to favor Fernando Alonso.

His jump to Ferrari should have been the final one. A mythical team signing one of the most recognized drivers of the moment. The mystic decided to send him to Maranello and everything would have been perfect if Red Bull, who had also been interested in signing him, had not gotten in the way. In four years, two world titles that eluded him after battling with an inferior car (especially in 2012). Again, a painful exit to McLaren.

Since then, Fernando Alonso has not returned to fight for the crown. Honda’s entry into Formula 1 was a big flop and Spanish was allowed until match your category favorite with the Indy Car (in the Indianapolis 500) and the Endurance World Championship (with victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans) to achieve a status of “total driver” that Formula 1 was denying him.

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With his time at McLaren, Fernando Alonso has shown that a final world title in Formula 1 was almost ruled out. With the really competitive teams closing their doors on him, his departure from the sport and his particular time in the Dakar Rally showed two things: Fernando Alonso wants to continue competing (even if it’s just for fun) and the brands are looking for something more than just a great driver in him.

The return to Alpine F1 Team had a lot to do with this and his move to Aston Martin too. During the pre-season tests, Jesús Presa, Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Social Impact at the Renault Group, confirmed that Alonso’s value goes far beyond being able to win a race. “For us, it is priceless appearing for two minutes on the TVE newscast for having Fernando Alonso in the team”, he assured us.

Aston Martin, the need to reinvent itself

That Alpine and Aston Martin have chosen to have Fernando Alonso in their ranks is no coincidence. His incorporation in 2021 in the F1 squad came after a deep remodeling of the sports model business within the Renault Group.

The restructuring led by Luca de Meo left aside the history of Renault’s sports division in favor of alpine revival, its new flag in this field. The goal was the same as in 2003: publicize a brand in low hours in new markets to expand their sales.

Esteban Ocon’s victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix last year, where Fernando Alonso was key in stopping Lewis Hamilton’s comeback, boosted the firm’s sales by 70% in the days that followed. In the first decade of the 2000s, Renault’s results in Formula 1 allowed it to enter an Asian market that until then had resisted them.

Now Aston Martin finds itself in a similar situation. Its value in the market loses strength by leaps and bounds. In May, his net debt It was from €1.12 billion and, since it went public in 2018, its shares have lost 90% of their value.

The legendary sports company is going through a bad time. His SUV, the Aston Martin DBXit sells well, but doesn’t seem to be enough, and its leap into the electric car market is proving to be more complicated than expected. In its day it was decided to go for maximum exclusivity on the way to electrification with the Aston Martin Vantage and Valkyrie, with its first purely electric car not expected until 2026.

Meanwhile, his entry into Formula 1 She has been closely linked to Lawrence Stroll and his son Lance Stroll. In 2020, Lawrence purchased the 16.7% of Aston Martin investing 182 million pounds sterling (216 million euros) and expanding their votes on the board of directors with a new injection of 318 million pounds sterling (378 million euros).

Then, Racing Point, where the little Stroll was obviously driving, received the name and colors of Aston Martin. In these two previous seasons, the company has tried the same move with Sebastian Vettel that he will use with Fernando Alonso: have one of the drivers with the best track record in the history of Formula 1 and improve his image.

At the moment, the movement has not gone well for the brand. The company continues losing money and its appearance as a Safety Car has not been effective either. In fact, the brand has received numerous reviews from pilots for being too slow.

The arrival of Fernando Alonso, therefore, seems like another desperate move to improve the company’s image. Although the Spaniard hasn’t won a title since 2006 and his last victory in a Grand Prix dates back to 2013, he still has an aura and raises the expectations of a driver who should have a more extensive track record. The picture of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel firing him from Formula 1 in 2018 based on “donuts” is just one more example.

For better or for worse, the figure of Fernando Alonso goes a lot beyond your image as a Formula 1 driver. His temperament has closed doors for him but he will also always have his place in the history of Formula 1 and, for one reason or another, his signing for Aston Martin has already raised more expectations than that of Sebastian Vettel, always more restrained in his career.

On the morning of August 1, 2022, news has shaken the calm of Formula 1. Fernando Alonso signs for Aston…

On the morning of August 1, 2022, news has shaken the calm of Formula 1. Fernando Alonso signs for Aston…

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