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Formula 1

Alonso to Red Bull? Mark Hughes' take on Alonso's 2025 stance

by Mark Hughes
5 min read

From what we hear within the Formula 1 paddock, Fernando Alonso is pushing very hard to find what opportunities there may be at Red Bull for him before deciding his future.

In Melbourne he gave an almost poetic treatise on the question of deciding if he wishes to continue in F1. Don’t be fooled. Alonso is always great to listen to, a hugely engaging character. Part of what makes him so entertaining is a certain self-mythology. You have to read between those lines sometimes to follow his real line of thought.

Here’s what he said: 

“When I was young I won the first world championship [with Renault] and I signed with McLaren, and we announced one year before moving there. I was 24, so it didn’t change with age. It was always like that.

“Formula 1 for me was not a priority, I was racing in go-karts and thought I would be a go-kart mechanic all my life.

“Formula 1 seemed not really appealing for me. It was too high, I was like not at that level or status. I was just a normal guy from the north of Spain, which seems nothing really to do with Formula 1.

“I enjoy motorsport in general and driving any car. Carcross, Dakar Rally, endurance, IndyCar. Formula 1 is just the top of motorsport and these fantastic cars and you learn so much from the people that work here, they are so clever, they are so professional, and everything is fantastic. It’s quite addictive.

“I still do not consider myself into this environment, I’m much more normal than this high class."

Ostensibly it’s humility. A guy who says he wasn’t born into F1, who made his way there against the odds and who should therefore be content with all that he’s achieved and anything more would be unreasonable.

But it’s as if he then turns inside himself and internally prepares his next move, as he just cannot help it. He’s scorpion-like in how he strikes. On the track and off. 

So when he talks – as he did in Melbourne – of trying to decide if he still wants to do it and of how that will be the only thing which decides anything, not the outside world, it’s at best diversionary.

The quality of the available drives and how realistic a route he assesses them to be to his fighting for what would be an extraordinary third world title are absolutely what will be driving his moves.

Read between the lines of the attractive story he paints.  They are just the snake charmer’s distraction.

“Sometimes it did help me, sometimes it hurt me to be the owner of my destiny.

“I chose when to go from a team, when to join a team. I chose when to stop Formula 1. And I chose when to come back.

“And now I will choose what I do next year. I will not follow what others do, and they dictate my destiny. I will do it on my own, for good or for bad, it’s the way that I am.

“I don’t want to wait maybe until the summer, because I think that will be unfair for me and the team, if they have to find more options or things like that. But I don’t want to rush as well, and make a decision while my head is not into next year.”

When he talks of how important being in charge of his own destiny is to him, it’s very easy to believe him. He’s always marched to his own drumbeat.

When he claims that extends to not letting outside events influence his decision on where or if he will drive next year, it’s not quite so believable.

Alonso loves defying expectations – but by exceeding them. Few believed he’d find a way back into F1 after leaving it for a couple of years.

Once he’d succeeded in doing that, few believed it would lead to him fighting at the front a couple of seasons later, as he was in the first part of 2023.

Now maybe few believe he could find a feasible route to fighting for a third world title. Don’t bet against it.

The current upheaval in the driver market created by Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and the uncertainty around Max Verstappen and Red Bull potentially plays perfectly for Alonso.

He’s put a limit of his late 40s (he’s currently 42) for still being able to perform at the top level. If he can see a way of fighting for a title in that timeframe, he will not be having a conversation with himself about whether he wants to continue. That will happen only if he judges the circumstances do not promise that.

So Aston Martin will be absolutely part of that consideration – but so will Red Bull. The slightest hint that there may be opportunity there - either through Verstappen leaving or replacing Sergio Perez – and he will be pursuing it very hard. Which he is.

Aston Martin makes no secret of wanting to extend his contract. Alonso in turn is waiting.

When he says this is to answer his question to himself about whether he wants to go on, it’s a slightly disingenuous truth.

Whether he wants to go on will in large part be determined by how he assesses his future chances. But there is an obvious danger of waiting too long. That will potentially take destiny out of his hands. Jumping too soon might look like signing for Aston Martin and a Red Bull seat then becoming free. So it’s important for him not to place excessive priority on being the one dictating destiny. 

His career is often cited as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But that actually dates back to his dismissal from his first stint at McLaren at the end of 2007. Which was at his own hand.

Everything since then has been about trying to recover from that rather than some deliberate idiosyncratic methodology.

Winning a third title two decades after his last – something unimaginable before he came back – wouldn’t even need any mythologising words. It would speak for itself.

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