Fernando Alonso has offered an insight into the discussions which led to him signing a multi-year Aston Martin F1 contract.
A day after the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso announced he had signed a new Formula 1 deal with the Silverstone-based squad.
That triggered a chain reaction with his current team, Alpine, announcing the promotion of Oscar Piastri the following day.
Just hours later, Piastri refuted that claim on social media.
Predicating that chain of events was the retirement of Sebastian Vettelwhich opened the door for Alonso to sign the Aston Martin F1 contract.
“Everything started when Sebastien announced the retirement, I think Aston was waiting for that decision,” Alonso explained.
“They were happy with Sebastian to continue one more year. At the end, Seb decided to stop and they start calling some drivers that they were interested of.
“I was one of those and I [was] still available, and we started talking on that weekend briefly about the conditions that I was expecting, about what they were expecting from me as well.
“We met quite quickly in our expectations and fulfill all our wishes, and on Monday morning we signed and we decided to announce quite quickly before any leak.”
Former Benetton and Renault boss Flavio Briatore has been linked with a role in how the deal played out.
Briatore has a management relationship with Alonso, a role he also filled for Mark Webber during the early stages of his Formula 1 career.
Webber now represents Piastri, who has become a central figure in the current silly season.
“I read that in the first days and, honestly, it was quite sad and annoying to read that conspiracy,” Alonso stated of Briatore’s involvement.
“I made this decision, I explained why, because from some months that I’ve been chatting with the team about extending the contract but nothing officially arrive, and nothing officially happened.
“And Aston called me after Sebastian retired. If Sebastian probably continued, this will not happen – the move to Aston.
“So there were very clear and very easy decisions from my side,” he added.
“What happened after, and what is happening with Oscar, whatever, is completely not my thing.
“Oscar is an incredible talent for any team, and for Alpine, and I’ve been working with him, for now, two years.
“I wish him the best and also the best for Alpine because it’s going to be my team this year, but it’s going to be my team always on my heart.”
Alonso won his two world championships with the squad currently branded as Alpine whilst known as Renault in 2005 and 2006.
The 41-year-old also revealed that he shared news of his impending departure with selected figures within his current squad, noting that Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer was not on that list.
“It’s true. Otmar probably didn’t know anything, but I informed Laurent Rossi, [Renault Group] President Luca de Meo, my mechanics, my engineers before any announcement, ”Alonso explained.
“So all the people that were involved in the negotiations, they have been informed before any announcement on Aston Martin.
“Otmar was not involved in the negotiations and yes, probably, Laurent or Luca didn’t call him before the announcement, and he was surprised by that.
“But all the people I’ve been negotiating with, they were informed before any announcement.
“As I said, even my mechanics or my engineers, I took my time to inform them before any announcement.”
The identity of Alonso’s replacement at Alpine remains uncertain as the saga surrounding Piastri’s future rumbles on.