Ten years since Lewis Hamilton pulled off a masterstroke, his age-old nemesis Fernando Alonso might be on the verge of doing something similar.

The Spaniard moved to Aston Martin from Alpine last season in a move that surprised many at the time. He replaced Sebastian Vettel, who wasn’t entirely confident about the team’s long-term prospects.

However, if the “grapevine” as they call it, is to be believed this season, then Aston Martin is looking at a major upgrade in performance. The team is aiming to become the leading midfield contender this year and will challenge the front of the grid in the coming years.

If the rumors are true and Aston Martin is able to show significant improvement, then are we looking at the Spaniard following the same route that Lewis Hamilton did almost a decade earlier and went on the most successful run for a driver in F1.

Surprisingly, if we observe carefully, there are far too many similarities between Mercedes’ surge to the front and what could prove to be Aston Martin’s surge in the future.

What made Lewis Hamilton’s move a masterstroke (and could work for Fernando Alonso)

#1 A resource-rich team throwing a lot of money at the project

Mercedes bought Brawn GP and entered the sport in 2010. At the time, due to a major drop in funding for Brawn in 2009, the facilities were just not up to the mark. The Mercedes engine was arguably the class of the field even then (Lewis Hamilton used it at McLaren), but Brackley needed serious investment and overhaul.

From 2010-2012, a major investment was made to upgrade the infrastructure and get it on par with what other teams had at the time. This was something that even Lewis Hamilton saw and had said that if you throw enough money at a project, it’s going to stick after a point.

Aston Martin has seen Lawrence Stroll do something similar at Silverstone. The facility was more or less outdated by the time Stroll got his hands on it. Since then, the Canadian billionaire has been making major investments in infrastructure, and the facilities have seen a tangible difference since then.

#2 Hiring key personnel from all over the grid

One of the things that stood out for Lewis Hamilton at the time was the major recruitment drive Mercedes went on to make. The team was hiring key successful personnel from all over the grid. Bob Bell was hired, Geoff Willis was recruited and so was Aldo Costa. These were some of the brightest minds in F1 at the time.

Mercedes had them all under the same roof with Ross Brawn at the top and Niki Lauda helping in his own way. When Lewis Hamilton got tired of trying and failing at McLaren, Mercedes seemed like a very impressive proposition.

Aston Martin too has been doing something similar with key members hired from all over the grid. There has been an emphasis on poaching personnel from Red Bull and Mercedes and that has been successful as well. The last part is streamlining the process and making the entire thing work as a team.

#3 Team’s public lofty expectations

Brawn’s vision was quite clear and he knew when the German team was going to rise to the front. By the 2012 F1 season, Mercedes was already a race winner. Nico Rosberg had placed his car on the pole already and Michael Schumacher had also done the same.

The 2013 F1 season was the first time Mercedes claimed they were starting to make the move to the front. The team finished the season 2nd in the championship and then took over in 2014.

Aston Martin is arguably a step behind where Mercedes was in 2012. The team is aiming to be the best midfield team on the grid this season and then take the momentum to take the next major step. Can the team get it done? The rumors and reports on the team’s potential have been very impressive, so it will be worth keeping an eye on it.

#4 Driver is the last piece of the puzzle

Finally, for Mercedes, the final piece of the puzzle was placing a proven talent in Lewis Hamilton in one of the cockpits. Once the team did that, we saw the first major leap in the championship standings in 2013.

In the case of Aston Martin, even Sebastian Vettel was doing a brilliant job, but when he announced his retirement from the sport, the German team needed a like-for-like replacement. In Fernando Alonso, the team has one and if the car is capable of winning races, the Spaniard will deliver.


Now, it would be a fallacy to claim that Fernando Alonso is going to replicate Lewis Hamilton’s level of success at Mercedes. The Spaniard is too old and we’re not looking at a major rule change in the near future that could flip the formbook on its head.

However, moving to another team, was a move that was met with a lot of trepidation, and then achieving success. This was something that Lewis Hamilton did almost a decade back and Fernando Alonso could possibly do the same thing with Aston Martin.