(GMM) Just as Aston Martin pulled the wraps off his 2024 car, a big hint was dropped that Fernando Alonso is very much in the frame to succeed the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
Flavio Briatore, who still oversees the 42-year-old Spaniard’s overall management, posted on Instagram a photo of himself meeting for breakfast with none other than Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Just one day earlier, Spanish sources reported that Alonso has put his 2025 contract talks with Aston Martin on hold as the pre-season ‘silly season’ heats up.
“I know that I am attractive to other teams,” Alonso said at the Aston Martin launch.
“I will not stay in Formula 1 just to have fun. I am not that kind of person and not that kind of driver. Let’s see what the options are.”
Alonso insisted that he knows his “very unique” status on the 2025 driver market – as the only world champion on the grid who is currently a free agent after this year.
“On a move to Mercedes, there has been nothing at all,” he said. “If I want to keep racing beyond this year, the first and only talk at the beginning will be Aston Martin.
“I trust this project and that will be my first priority.”
He makes clear that he currently feels fit enough to keep racing all the way to his 50th birthday – the only question is whether he will have a car competitive enough to motivate him.
“Before I start negotiating, I have to ask myself whether I want to keep sacrificing my life for this sport. There are plenty of other things I still want to discover,” said Alonso.
The former two-time champion thinks Aston Martin will struggle to take “such a big step again” like the meteoric one between the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
That said, the 2024 Aston Martin is clearly reminiscent of Red Bull’s title-winning car philosophy – but even with radical innovations like the letterbox-slit new sidepod inlets.
As for the way his former nemesis Lewis Hamilton ripped open the 2025 driver market with his realizing of the “childhood dream” of racing for Ferrari, Alonso couldn’t help but throw out a cheeky jibe.
“It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago, no? Or two months ago, I guess,” he smiled. “It was a different dream.
“It was a surprise because people had actually thought that Lewis was a loyal part of the Mercedes family.”
February 12, 2024
(GMM) Fernando Alonso is reportedly putting contract talks with Aston Martin on hold in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s shock defection from Mercedes to Ferrari for 2025.
42-year-old Alonso’s current deal expires this year – as do the contracts of the majority of the 2024 Formula 1 grid. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits he is already fielding calls from many stars who are eyeing Hamilton’s seat.
“We have had, as you can imagine, quite a lot of phone calls and Whatsapps,” Wolff told CNBC. “And we’re going to take our time.”
A leading candidate to succeed Hamilton in 2025 is the meteoric Wolff-managed teenage talent Kimi Antonelli, who is just 17. But also clearly in the running is the ever-resurgent two-time champion Alonso, who will be 43 if he races for Mercedes in 2025.
Wolff said: “I think the spectrum is from the very young talent which could be the future for a long, long time, all the way to the other end of the spectrum, which is lots of performance and knowledge. So I’m not sure where this is going to end.
“But the next few months are going to be interesting in evaluating all those options.”
Marco Canseco, the top F1 correspondent for the Spanish sports daily Marca, says Aston Martin is keen to sit down for 2025 contract talks with Alonso.
“As we have learned, Fernando is not sitting down yet to renew with the bosses of the Silverstone team, since it is not a matter that he is in any hurry to address at the moment,” he said.
“Why? Because the panorama of stability that looked likely for the next few years in the paddock has been totally blown up (by Hamilton).”
February 1, 2024
Fernando Alonso has dropped a clear hint that he intends to negotiate a new contract with Aston Martin to keep him in Formula 1 beyond this year.
But now that Lewis Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes is opening up after this year, could we see him change his mind about Aston Martin?
After returning to the sport from a sabbatical with Alpine in 2021 and 2022, the 42-year-old two-time champion switched to Aston Martin last year.
The last season on his current contract is 2024.
“The incredible year I just had with Aston Martin, the podiums, the celebration, the champagne, the joy, was a reset at the level of motivation and desire,” he said in a DAZN documentary called Fernando – Revelado.
But he said even racing with Alpine, with less success, was preferable to not racing in F1 at all.
“I returned because I believed I was in a good moment at the driving level and I felt wasted being at home. 2023 was then a bit of a vindication and in 2024 or 2025 I see myself with the same strength, desire, energy and optimism,” said Alonso.
“I have not done anything else in my life, nor have I liked anything else in my life, nor have I felt so comfortable in anything else, other than motorsport. It’s me – where I feel good and where I do what I think I do best.
“Whenever I’m not in the car, I’m waiting to be in the car.”
Alonso says he is even enjoying F1 even more in the second phase of his career compared to when he had the bulk of his successes as a youngster.
“I was 24 and 25 years old and was always thinking about the next race and the next thing. I don’t have as many memories as I should, so I would tell my (former) self to lower the intensity a little, enjoy the moment and think about the next challenge the next week,” he smiled.
He said former Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was the closest thing he had to a friend in F1 in his earlier career, where now he gets along with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.
“Both Max and Checo are two drivers you can trust on the track,” said Alonso. “Max had more incidents and was a little crazier in his early days with more problems, but I think we are very similar. We like similar things.
“There are not many friendships in F1, but we fight with respect. We like sports more than shows. We come to the track with team clothes and a backpack, we race and then on Sunday we leave with the backpack on again. We like simple things. When we have some free time we go somewhere to drive a car.
“That is what I like most about Max that that has not changed despite the titles.”
As for his frosty relationship with Lewis Hamilton, he admits that most of that now is in the past – like when they were paired at McLaren in 2007 and clashed so badly.
“I think now there is another type of rivalry,” said Alonso. “I don’t think we’ll be friends in the future and I don’t think we don’t share many things, but in 2007 the rivalry was at the highest level.
“I would arrive at the team meeting and I began to notice this friction – this tension. I would see his telemetry and onboard cameras and that the car had little grip at the front, but when he (Hamilton) spoke he would complain about the rear instead.
“We were young and immature – me first of all – but we also had a boss who didn’t know how to control the situation,” Alonso explained, referring to Ron Dennis.
“What happened will remain under lock and key and I have deleted many other things, but I don’t believe it would have happened at all with Flavio Briatore or Lawrence Stroll.
“There are certain characters in F1 who are respected, while there are others where the drivers have a bit too much control of the situation. Nobody gave us serious warning about what was happening.”
And today, Alonso says the special rivalry with Hamilton still exists.
“Every time we overtake each other it has an extra satisfaction,” he admitted. “And pain when it is you who is overtaken. I think the two of us are always going to have that.”
To seasoned F1 observers, Alonso is clearly more mature but just as clearly still popular – and so a new deal with Aston Martin for 2025 now seems almost inevitable, but the open seat at Mercedes has to be tempting.
“F1 is increasing in popularity every year, we have more and more young people who follow the sport, the circuits are full, record calendar,” he said. “It’s like the crest of the wave and I don’t want to see it from the couch – I want to see it from here.”
January 1, 2024
Rumor has it that Aston Martin has offered Fernando Alonso a new 1-year contract to sign, locking him in with the team until the end of the 2025 F1 season.
–by Mark Cipolloni–
The Spaniard joined the team in the 2023 season, replacing a retiring Sebastian Vettel.
42-Year-old Alonso will turn 43 in July – halfway through the 2024 season. At that age, the team cannot risk signing him to long-term contract extensions because the performance falloff can be sudden and dramatic.
While this contract is seemingly good for him, given the team continues its upward development, there might be some more expectations from him. The first of which is obviously for him to remain competitive at the top of the grid.
Alonso defied all expectations, beating his much younger teammate, Lance Stroll, all season long. Beat him is an understatement.