‘I’m the only champion available for 2025 – and a fast world champion’

Sportem
Sportem
11 Min Read

Fernando Alonso insists continuing his success story with Aston Martin remains his priority amid the upheaval on the Formula 1 driver market for 2025.

However he also indicated he is prepared to consider changing teams next year following Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari, which created a vacancy at Mercedes.

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal who is weighing his options for who to place alongside George Russell next year, has previously ruled out working with Alonso. Mercedes’ last association with the two-times world champion was not a positive one.

Although Alonso won four races for McLaren when it was Mercedes’ factory team in 2007, his involvement in the ‘Spygate’ episode also brought about the team’s ejection from that year’s constructors’ championship and an unprecedented $100 million fine. “Fernando has some history with Mercedes and it was not always the best,” Wolff acknowledged in 2017 when asked if Alonso might ever be paired with Hamilton.

Alonso and Mercedes have a “history”

However Alonso senses Wolff’s calculation may have changed as Mercedes face the possibility of entering a world championship without a world champion among their drivers for the first time in their modern era. While continuing to stress his commitment to Aston Martin and the team’s obvious progress and potential, he also made it clear that if Wolff wants a world champion among his drivers next year, he has only one option.

Moreover, Alonso claimed, his credentials among world champions should not be underestimated.

“I’m aware of my situation, which is very unique,” he told media including RaceFans yesterday. “There are only three world champions on the grid and fast world champions, because in the past, maybe there were some world champions where they were not so committed to be fast.”

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Several champions have departed F1 over the past seasons, most recently Alonso’s predecessor at Aston Martin, Sebastian Vettel. The team made a significant step forward in 2023 when Alonso arrived in his place.

“I’m probably the only one available for ’25, so I have a good position,” Alonso continued. “But at the same time, when I make the decision, if I want to keep racing or not for the future, first and only talk that I will have at the beginning is with Aston Martin, because that will be my only one priority.”

Alonso will turn 43 this year and he admitted he is yet to decide how much longer he wants to continue racing for. F1’s growing calendar is more demanding than ever, and will reach a record 24 rounds this year.

“There are a couple of phases that I need to go through,” he explained. “First of all, I need to decide myself what I want to do for the future if I want to commit my life, again for a few more years to this sport, which I love.

“I love driving. I’ve been driving all over winter. Different cars, DTM car, car cross, rally car, go kart itself. So I love Formula 1, but generally I love driving. So if it’s not Formula 1, I will find myself happy in any other form of motorsport and maybe having more time for my private life, which is also very important, at this age. But this is a decision that I need to do with myself.

“I need to think, and I need to commit to a team, eventually, and make sure that I understand the next few years of my life it will be that team 100% of my time. Once I do that decision I want to sit with Aston Martin and say okay I make these decisions.”

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Again Alonso stressed his loyalty to Aston Martin. “I would love to continue in this project because I think we did a good step forward in the last year.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Interlagos, 2023
Eight podiums last year showed Alonso’s lost none of his speed

“We built a lot of things together. We have this new facility here. We have everything to succeed for the future and I trust this project. So that will be my first priority when I say that I want to speak first with Aston Martin because I feel part of this project very much.

“But if we cannot reach an agreement and I want to commit to race in Formula 1 I know that I have a privileged position I am probably attractive to other teams, the performance that they saw last year, the commitment. And as I said there are only three world champions on the grid and there is only one available.”

If Alonso was to agree a new multi-year contract with an F1 team, it would commit him to racing until at least 45, considerably older than most recent drivers. He admitted he did not expect to keep competing so long.

“A few years ago, I would say that maybe 42 or 41 was the limit. Now, after I saw myself last year, motivated and performing well, I was thinking maybe that I can keep racing a few more years now.

“This winter, I’ve been exceeding a little bit the expectations in terms of all the physical tests and everything that I did. So I would say that if you are motivated and if you want to commit, you can drive maybe until 48 or 49 or whatever, or even 50.”

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However he is not yet certain he wants to continue that long. “You have to give up everything in life. Formula 1 needs total dedication.

“This is my [21st] season in F1, and I gave my life for 24 years to this sport, which I’m happy and I’m okay with that. I can keep doing for a few more years, but I don’t know if I will be racing until 50 with such a demanding calendar and things like that. Not for the abilities, but because there are other things in life that I’m curious [about].”

Alonso discounted any concerns over his fitness heading into the new season, having adjusted his regime of training and nutrition over the winter. “I feel fitter than ever,” he said. “The numbers that we achieve in all the physical tests that we do every season, they were the best ever this year.

“But I was training a little bit different this year. I was also, as I said, adding a nutritionist to the team, which changed a little bit our way of seeing things and preparing the body. Everything that I do in life and everything that I did in the last few months were just to prepare myself better than ever for a very long season and to prepare myself also, in case I want to keep driving, being better than ever.”

In another remark which appeared to be aimed at any potential future employers, Alonso said he isn’t prepared to continue in F1 giving anything less than his maximum and competing for anything less than victories.

“If I commit to a project in the future, for the next year or next few years, I need to be first ready, myself, to commit to that. I will not drive a few more years in Formula 1 just to drive and to have fun. I’m not that kind of driver, I’m not that kind of person.

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“If I want to keep driving it’s because I know, starting from myself, that I can give 200% to the team on and off-track. Simulator work, marketing work, delivering the results on track. So, I’m preparing for that in the eventuality that I want to keep racing and if I want to keep racing, let’s see what the options are.

“My first priority will be always to sit down and discuss with Aston. They gave me the opportunity last year to join this organisation, which I’m very proud to be part of. With the new factory, with everything that is going on, there is a great future in this team. And I want to explore every possibility to race for many years here.”

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