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Our verdict on Alonso's big Aston Martin F1 contract decision

9 min read

Despite being linked with both Red Bull and Mercedes, Fernando Alonso has committed to staying at Aston Martin for the 2025 Formula 1 season and beyond.

A logical move or a surprising one?

Will it join the pantheon of Alonso career misjudgements if 2023 proves to be Aston Martin’s peak? Or is he right that it’s the best long-term prospect?

Here are our pundits’ initial thoughts on the news.


Mark Hughes

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes leads Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Japanese Grand Prix 2024 Suzuka

So Alonso has been the first to jump in what has been an exceptionally fluid driver market turned on its head by the Lewis Hamilton-Ferrari deal and the disruption at Red Bull. 

It’s clear Red Bull was not in a position to move - as Alonso’s real value there would be as a short-term Max Verstappen replacement if it couldn’t hold on to him. Rather than as a Sergio Perez replacement alongside Verstappen - as that could have pulled the team apart.

The other option for Alonso was Mercedes and surely ‘light’ talks (as Alonso describes his negotiations with other teams) were had there, too. But is Mercedes any more attractive an option than where he already is?

2025 Formula 1 driver line-up

It’s logical he stays put, hoping to recoup the investment of time he’s made so far in what is an extremely ambitious project.

So Carlos Sainz can wait for any Red Bull movement or take up what is believed to be a firm offer from Audi before it’s too late.

Mercedes? Why would Sainz wait to see if he can keep a Kimi Antonelli seat warm? This surely has made Antonelli’s position stronger.


Ben Anderson

Max Verstappen Fernando Alonso

As much as Alonso’s reasoning for sticking with Aston Martin is logical, it’s the conservative choice and almost certainly denies us the chance to see him and Max Verstappen go against each other in the same team.

Before Alonso and Aston shut this story down emphatically, there was a swell of talk about Alonso gunning for Sergio Perez’s Red Bull seat in 2025.

That would have made total sense - in all probability, a single clear shot at a third world title in 2025, if Alonso could topple Verstappen.

Aston Martin has a lot of things going for it, but a title contender in 2026? Honda is a big tick, great facility yes, but even so...

The fact Alonso has given up the chase suggests Red Bull privately closed the door on him. It’s not the first time that’s happened, and Christian Horner is known to be wary of Alonso’s reputation (unfair or not) as a disruptor.

It’s a shame for F1 that Alonso can’t get into Red Bull. It means Verstappen will most likely go unchallenged in 2025 - unless Ferrari takes a massive step forward over the winter of 2024.

Verstappen himself is probably quite happy about that! But anyway it would have been really fun to see a Red Bull ‘superteam’ take on Ferrari’s Leclerc/Hamilton one in 2025. C’est la vie.


Edd Straw

Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Japanese Grand Prix 2024 Suzuka

Alonso's new deal is good news for fans, Formula 1, Aston Martin and, in the absence of being offered a Red Bull drive, the best news the man himself could have.

He's still operating at a high level, arguably the strongest performer at Suzuka last weekend, and offers exactly the characteristics you need to drive a team that is battling to bridge the gap to Red Bull over the next couple of years. He may be, by F1 standards, an 'old man' at 42 but he has the determination and desire of a driver half his age.

That's reflected in the fact that nobody has really questioned Alonso's place in F1 since he came back with Alpine in 2021. Despite being in his fifth decade, any loss of performance with age that may or may not be there is more than compensated for by his experience. 

So it's positive for everyone that the extraordinary story of Alonso's F1 career will continue for a few years yet.


Josh Suttill

Fernando Alonso

This is a smart move from Alonso to properly commit to Aston Martin for F1's new era.

Verstappen isn't leaving Red Bull and walking into his team alongside him would be too risky even for Alonso.

As for Mercedes, why be a seat-warmer for Antonelli when you can spearhead a really solid Aston Martin-Honda prospect into 2026?

2026 is when theoretically so many of the huge pieces Lawrence Stroll has put in place will come most to fruition. 

So it's much better to commit to Aston Martin well before the team starts looking elsewhere and if Lance Stroll is alongside him, Alonso doesn't even need to worry about another driver making better use of any Aston Martin leap forward.

I'd go as far to say this is the driver market move that will end Alonso's decade-long F1 win drought.


Samarth Kanal

Alonso was forthright about being the 'master of his own destiny' back in Australia last month. He was adamant about avoiding any rash career moves.

Now that the two-time champion has chosen Aston Martin as his home for the long term, he's made a decision that will please the team on more than one level.

Not only will it retain the most experienced driver on the grid, a driver who just put in a stellar drive to sixth in Japan, but Aston Martin will feel like its path to becoming a championship-contending team is the right one.

Alonso's decision to stay on a multi-year deal surely means that he thinks Aston Martin is his best chance to achieve results in the short run. It means he likes what he sees at the Silverstone-based team: two new buildings at the factory that will house a new windtunnel and simulator, an accomplished and well-oiled technical team, and short-term upgrades that are making the AMR24 a more competitive racing car.

The arrival of Honda and the transformation of Aston Martin into a fully-fledged works team is definitely part of that decision, although it's not clear how long Alonso will ultimately stay there.

"This kind of progress, the ambition, is something else. I want to be part of it," he said on Thursday evening.

That is a statement of belief from Alonso. It will please Lawrence Stroll, Mike Krack, and their technical staff — and give renewed confidence to a team that might have felt deflated after falling flat at the end of last season.


Jack Benyon

Fernando Alonso Arrow McLaren 2020 Indianapolis 500 IndyCar

Maybe in the future Aston Martin will be a title contender. Maybe it will continue to be a yo-yo team between the back and the front of the post-Red Bull pack.

Ultimately, I don’t care.

Maybe Alonso is the best driver on the grid, but with a subpar team-mate like Stroll, we can’t really know how high Alonso’s performance ceiling is without a proper yardstick.

And ultimately, on the very best days, this team is a podium threat and nothing more. Even if Alonso seemingly claims a lot that 'x race was one of the best in my career', if it's for sixth for example, it's hard for people to get excited about.

That's a lot of maybes.

I’d much prefer to see Alonso trying things for the first time or returning to some of those outside-of-F1 series and events he tried.

A return to the Indianapolis 500, Le Mans 24 Hours and Dakar Rally while he is still young enough to compete for victory is far more appealing to me than spending every week wondering how good he is compared to his F1 peers, on his way to fifth or something similar most times.

What about some other events? The Baja 1000 and some sort of dirt short oval race? NASCAR? Bathurst? The Citroen C1 24 Hours at Anglesey in Wales?

Who cares! Get him a ride.


Matt Beer

Fernando Alonso

Given his proven qualities, title-winning credentials, relentless competitiveness, availability and enthusiasm for continuing to race in F1, Alonso seemed to be in a very strong position in a 2025 F1 driver market that his old sparring partner Hamilton had made very volatile.

So to take himself out of it all in early April - even though the multi title-winning Mercedes team ostensibly still has a vacancy and currently dominant Red Bull has a second driver with a lot of question marks over him - seems an odd move from the outside, however impressive Aston Martin’s long-term prospects might appear.

Surely Alonso was in a strong enough position to wait and see a little longer?

That he’s decided not to suggests either he’s had a sufficiently firm ‘not going to happen’ indication from Red Bull and Mercedes - or has no faith in Mercedes’ recovery, has reason to be certain Max Verstappen isn’t leaving Red Bull any time soon and doesn’t see much to gain from being Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate.


Scott Mitchell-Malm

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, F1

While inevitably impressed by Alonso's ability, longevity and irrepressible commitment, I've not really been one for adulation about 'racing at his age' specifically since his comeback. Not because it isn't impressive but because it has just never really jumped out as that interesting.

I suppose the lines are blurred between how he keeps extending his career with this seemingly unflinching level of performance, and his age, for one can't help but be linked to the other. But I don't think I've ever stopped to think 'wow, Alonso's doing this at forty-X'.

However, contemplating this renewal, I find myself pondering that for the first time. Alonso will be in his mid-40s by the time the 2026 regs roll around. He is, completely sincerely, not ruling out racing beyond then either. And - as it was put to Alonso during our media call with him following the announcement - this really is remarkable in the modern era.

I still think of it less as 'wow, Alonso's doing this at forty-X' and more as 'I just cannot believe he's STILL doing this and is performing at this level', but perhaps the absurdity of his age-defiance is a bigger factor than before.

Imagine if Aston Martin and Honda really do give Alonso a race-winning car. There's a very real chance he could achieve something that hasn't been done since the 1950s (winning aged 44 or older).

F1's oldest winners

Luigi Fagioli - age 53 (1951)
Nino Farina - age 46 (1953)
Juan Manuel Fangio - age 46 (1957)
Piero Taruffi - age 45 (1952)
Jack Brabham - age 43 (1970)

Alonso hates it when people relentlessly ask him about his age but I bet he'd LOVE to do something no driver's done since the first few years of the world championship...


Gary Anderson

Let’s look at this decision realistically. The open seats that might just be a step up are not available for 2025.

Red Bull or Mercedes don’t have a space for a 42-year-old. Ferrari and McLaren have their drivers in place and he has been there and done that.

So where else is there to go that would be a step upwards? He is respected where he is and you never know the big plan could be for it to be an all-Spanish team...

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