Fernando Alonso says staying with Aston Martin remains his "first choice" should he extend his F1 career beyond the 2024 season.
The recent earth shattering news of Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari in 2025 has created a vacancy at Mercedes, arguably one of the most competitive seats on the grid.
Naturally, Alonso's name has been swirling around the rumor mill, fueling speculation about a potential switch.
The allure of Mercedes cannot be ignored. The Silver Arrows team possesses a winning infrastructure and is working tirelessly to recoup its position at the top of the grid after two troubled seasons.
Joining the Brackley squad could offer Alonso a final shot at adding a third title to his legacy. However, before contemplating a potential move, Alonso must decide if he craves another season in F1 at all.
“If I want to keep racing, let's see what the options are,” he said, speaking ahead of Monday’s launch of Aston martin’s 2024 contender.
“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. I want to explore every possibility to race for many years here.”
At 43, Alonso is the sport's most experienced driver, and the physical and mental demands are undeniable. Regardless of his level of success this season, the Spaniard will be thinking long and hard about extending his career into 2025.
“I think there are a couple of phases that I need to go through,” he said.
“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 few more years to this sport, which I love.
“But I love driving, I've been driving all over winter, different cars; a DTM car, car cross, rally car, go-karts. I love F1, but generally, I love driving. So if it's not F1, 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 that the next few years of my life, it will be that team, and 100% of my time.
“Once I do that decision I want to sit with Aston Martin, and say, okay, I made this decision, and I would love to continue with this project. Because I think we did a good step forward in the last year.
“We built a lot of things together, we have this new facility here, we have everything to succeed for the future. 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.”
Alonso acknowledged that he was in a “privileged” position regarding his future. Should he fail to reach an agreement with Aston Martin and decide to remain on the grid, his talent will a highly coveted asset.
“If we cannot reach an agreement, and I want to commit to race in F1, I know that I have a privileged position,” he said.
“I'm probably attractive to other teams, the performance that they saw last year, the commitment. There are only three world champions on the grid. And there is only one available.”
While age might not be the immediate barrier for Fernando Alonso, the seasoned driver acknowledges the looming question of mental fatigue.
Physically, he believes he can stay competitive for a few more years. However, the real challenge lies in maintaining the relentless dedication and mental fortitude demanded of an F1 driver battling at the pinnacle.
“A few years ago, I would say that maybe 40 to 41 was the limit,” he said. “Now, after I saw myself last year, motivated and performing well, I was thinking maybe that I can keep racing 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 will 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.
“But at the same time, you have to give up everything in life. F1 needs total dedication. This is my 24th season or whatever in F1. I gave my life for 24 years to this sport, which I'm happy… And I'm okay with that. I can keep doing it for 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].”