Fernando Alonso will make a sensational switch to the Aston Martin Formula 1 team in place of Sebastian Vettel for 2023.
Alonso was widely expected to remain at Alpine, which he joined in 2021 after a two-year F1 sabbatical.
This is Alonso’s third stint at the Enstone team where he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006.
There has been clear progress at Alpine this year and a contract renewal seemed a formality, although there was known to be a disagreement over its length.
Alonso wanted two years whereas Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi appeared to be planning for a future without Alonso from 2024.
Both parties had indicated negotiations would be concluded quickly and there was no suggestion this would be with a negative resolution.
Asked by The Race after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix if he expected his future to be resolved by the end of the summer break Alonso simply said: “Yes.”
That has already happened but his future will remarkably be with Aston Martin instead.
Aston Martin says Alonso will join on a “multi-year contract”.
“This Aston Martin team is clearly applying the energy and commitment to win, and it is therefore one of the most exciting teams in Formula 1 today,” said Alonso.
“I have known Lawrence and Lance [Stroll, Aston Martin’s other driver] for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula 1.
“I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone.
“No one in Formula 1 today is demonstrating a greater vision and absolute commitment to winning, and that makes it a really exciting opportunity for me.
“I still have the hunger and ambition to fight to be at the front, and I want to be part of an organisation that is committed to learn, develop and succeed.
“We all appreciate that there is much to be done to get to the front, and that we must apply all our energies in working together to find performance.
“The passion and desire to perform that I have witnessed convince me to maintain my enjoyment and commitment to the sport.
“I intend to win again in this sport and therefore I have to take the opportunities that feel right to me.”
It is a huge statement of intent from Lawrence Stroll’s organisation which had been initially linked with Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo.
“I have known and admired Fernando for many years and it has always been clear that he is a committed winner like me,” said Aston Martin chairman Lawrence Stroll.
“I have set out to bring together the best people and develop the right resources and organisation to succeed in this highly competitive sport, and those plans are now taking shape at Silverstone.
“It seemed natural therefore to invite Fernando to be part of the development of a winning team, and we very quickly established in our recent conversations that we have the same ambitions and values, and it was logical and easy to confirm our desire to work together.”