The stage is set for another exciting Formula 1 season, but behind the scenes, driver contracts and plans for the future are already swirling. One of the biggest stories brewing involves veteran Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and his potential move to Mercedes in 2025.
Alonso persistently "refuses" to sign a new contract with Aston Martin for 2025, and it seems that we have learned the reason for his constant postponement of the new contract. According to Spanish sports paper Marca, Alonso is delaying contract talks with his current team, Aston Martin, as he targets a coveted spot at the Silver Arrows.
The news comes amid significant changes in the driver market caused by the confirmed departure of Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes to Ferrari next year. Alonso's current contract with Aston Martin expires at the end of the 2024 season.
While earlier reports suggested talks about an extension until 2026, Marca claims Alonso has put those talks on hold. Instead, he seems confident of reaching a deal with Mercedes, potentially replacing the outgoing Hamilton.
The move, if it comes to fruition, would be a fascinating twist. Alonso, a two-time world champion (2005, 2006) with Renault, is currently 42 years old and is considered one of the most experienced and best drivers on the grid.
His aggressive spirit and competitive drive are well known, and he continues to deliver impressive performances despite his age. After a break of several years, Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 in 2021. He then drove for Alpina, and 2024 will be the second year in which he will be in Aston Martin.
2023 was great for Fernando because he was fourth in the overall standings, and he hasn't had such a result since 2013 when he was runner-up in Ferrari. "First I will decide whether I will continue and with the full commitment that Formula 1 requires.
I have to figure out what I want to do and then I will sit down with the Aston Martin which is the priority. When the season starts I will analyze everything and then I will decide. If we don't agree and if I want to continue, I have the privilege of being wanted by the other teams.
The only world champion without a contract for 2025 is me," said Fernando Alonso. When asked by the Spanish newspaper Marca if there is a concrete offer for him from an F1 team. "They didn't ask me anything directly, although there is certainly interest in my situation and my ideas for the future.
The team that shows more interest than the others is Aston Martin".
However, there are a few hurdles to overcome before Alonso dons the legendary Mercedes silver.
Firstly, Mercedes already have George Russell confirmed for next year, leaving only Hamilton's seat vacant. While Alonso's experience and proven ability are undeniable, his age could lead to questions about his long-term fit with the team's strategy.
Second, other drivers are undoubtedly also eyeing the vacant Mercedes seat. Young talents like Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, along with proven veterans like Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez, could be strong contenders. The final decision is likely to depend on a number of factors, including performance in the coming season, driver fitness and commercial considerations.
With the driver market changing and the new season fast approaching, the next few weeks will be crucial for Alonso. The March 2nd Bahrain Grand Prix marks the start of the on-track battle, but the off-track drama surrounding driver contracts in addition to this year's car launch has drawn a lot of attention, mostly due to the now-legendary Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari.
Maybe Alonso, a bit put off by that news, wanted to draw attention to himself in such a way and sit behind the Mercedes car instead of Hamilton. Alonso himself admitted that Halimton's move to Ferrari was the right move and that this season will be promising for both the driver and the team.
"For the last couple of years, Ferrari has had a very fast car and they have been fighting for big things. Maybe Lewis can bring that addition to the championship fight. The car is here," Alonso said, the BBC reported today.
The Spanish driver recalled that in the last five races of last season, Ferrari had more pole positions than Red Bull, which dominated and won the titles in the competition of drivers and constructors. "Even last year, with a very dominant Red Bull car, Ferrari managed to achieve the same lap time and be faster than them for most of the qualifying, so the car should be fast enough," said Alonso.
At the official announcement of the contract with Ferrari, the seven-state Formula 1 champion said that it was his boyhood dream, to which Alonso was ready to respond. “That wasn't his boyhood dream 12 months ago, was it? Or two months ago I guess, since it was a different dream then," said Alonso.
From this it could be concluded that Alonso wants to hint that he too could change his team. A very exciting season awaits us in less than a month.