Alonso 'will be first to raise hand' if he loses motivation

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team in the FIA Press Conference. 22.02.2024. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two. -, EMail: © Copyright: XPB Images
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Despite already being the oldest man on the Formula 1 grid, two-time champion Fernando Alonso has just signed a new deal to keep him at Aston Martin until at least the end of 2026.

That will mean he'll still be racing at the top level of world motorsport at the age of 45. While he's not showing any signs of slowing down at the moment, he's aware that it could become a factor over the next two and a half years.

If that were to prove to be the case, Alonso made it clear that he wouldn't wait around to be told that his abilities were on the wane and that he would be the first to raise his hand and point out the situation.

"It is true, I will be 45 or more and keep racing," he said on Friday. "But I love what I do, so I wouldn't be happy sitting at home and watching F1 races, because at the moment I still feel that I should be there.

"If one day, I feel that I'm not motivated, not in good shape or not fast [then] I will be the first one to raise my hand and say: 'You know, I have maybe lost here or there'

"I think I have a very honest relationship with Aston," he added. "We would find solutions. But I don't see that coming for the next few years.

"As I said in Japan [at last week's Grand Prix], probably one of my best races ever maybe happened just five days ago, so I am feeling good. I don't see any problem there."

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24 in qualifying parc ferme. 06.04.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

Alonso added that with his old rival Lewis Hamilton turning 40 next January and embarking on a brand new phase of his own career at Ferrari, "At least I will not be the only 40-plus that you will talk [of]!"

Although he said on Friday that retirement from racing had never been a serious option in his mind, Alonso had been wary about revealing his future plans with many speculating that he could move to Mercedes to take over from Hamilton.

But Alonso explained that it was more a case of needing to take stock and assess that he still had the energy levels to stay in F1 - and that it was little to do with the physical exertion of being out on the track.

"F1 takes all your time or your energy, you have to give up basically everything in life to keep racing," he said. "I needed a few races or few weeks to really think for myself if I was ready to commit for more years.

"It was not a racing factor, it was more the travelling, to be honest," admitting that extending to a record 24-race season had been a concern. "Looking at this calendar, I was a little bit afraid that this will be heavy on me.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. 06.03.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Preparation Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

"There are all the commitments pre-season with all the photoshoots, video, car launch," he continued. "All these kinds of things are quite demanding for drivers, and for me particularly in this part of my career.

"So I said, 'Let me go through that tough period at the beginning of the year and that tough period of traveling, time zones, big planes and these kinds of things'.

"And it didn't arrive, the moment that I felt I need to change the lifestyle. My lifestyle is great," he beamed. "I breathe Formula 1, I live Formula 1, I train to be fit to drive Formula 1 cars, I eat to be fit to drive Formula 1 cars.

"I felt that I love driving too much, that I cannot stop at the moment," he concluded. "I think the sacrifices that you have to make are smaller than the joy of driving, and the passion that I have for driving."

F1's oldest driver often appears to be be one of its youngest in spirit. And Alonso still has some way to go before matching Louis Chiron's record, of 55 years and 292 days old when he came sixth in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix.

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