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Alonso on his new ‘lifetime’ Aston Martin deal, talks with rival teams and a Honda reunion

Staff Writer

Mike Seymour
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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin looks on during the F1

Fernando Alonso has placed the latest piece in the F1 driver market puzzle with the announcement that he will be remaining in the sport with Aston Martin via a fresh long-term deal – and the Spaniard faced the world’s media shortly after the news was communicated on Thursday to share all...

Alonso’s future had been the subject of much speculation over the first four rounds of the campaign after Lewis Hamilton kicked off ‘silly season’ early by making the decision to swap Mercedes for Ferrari in 2025 – with the veteran racer, and plenty of other drivers, yet to confirm their plans.

READ MORE: Alonso signs new deal with Aston Martin to end speculation over F1 future

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff namechecked Alonso as one of the contenders that stood out to replace Hamilton, while the two-time world champion himself admitted he was likely an “attractive” option to teams across the grid given his vast experience and title-winning credentials.

But a few days on from the Japanese Grand Prix, Alonso and Aston Martin confirmed that they had agreed an all-new, multi-year deal that will keep the star driver onboard through 2025 and, importantly, into F1’s new era of technical regulations in 2026.

Half an hour after a press release quote that simply read “I am here to stay”, Alonso took centre stage for a media session, in which he fielded a host of questions about his newly-signed contract, how it came about and what it means for the years ahead.

First up, was it an easy or difficult decision to remain in green?

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Alonso will race with Aston Martin through 2025 and into 2026, when new F1 rules arrive

“It was easy,” came Alonso’s clear response. “I think it didn’t change much from when we spoke in February at the car launch. I needed a few races, or a few weeks, to really think about myself, if I was ready to commit [to] more years in F1, because the calendars are just a little bit more intense now, the cars as well, the commitment.

“My love for F1 and my love for Aston Martin didn’t change, but I just wanted this time to really speak with myself and make the decision and the commitment. Obviously, F1 takes all your time, all your energy, you have to give up basically everything in life to keep racing, and I wanted to just speak with myself [to see] if I was ready to do so.

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“Once I took the decision, I think it was after Australia or something like that, I sat with Aston, which again is exactly the same as what I said in February, that it will be my first priority. It was not too difficult. I think we both wanted the same; I wanted to keep racing with Aston Martin, Aston Martin wanted also to keep my in the seat.

“When two parties want something at one point you reach an agreement, so I’m extremely excited to keep racing and to keep racing with this team, which I feel at home [with]. It was also a sense of loyalty that I wanted to express to my team. I felt this is just the beginning of the journey... it could not be the end of the journey for me and Aston Martin.”

Pushed on whether he considered retirement while weighing up the demands of travelling around the world, the various marketing commitments, media duties and everything else that goes with being an F1 driver, Alonso said: “Not really. I think it never went to my mind, retirement. I had 99% confidence that I will keep racing next year, so retirement was not an option.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Lance Stroll of Canada and Aston Martin F1 Team and Fernando

Alonso keeps his spot alongside Lance Stroll, whose father, Lawrence, owns Aston Martin

‘It’s a lifetime project’

The line of questioning also naturally covered any discussions Alonso held with Aston Martin’s rivals before recommitting to the Silverstone operation and, while he admitted he heard what teams throughout the pit lane had to say, his current squad was always the standout option.

“I did speak with other people as well, yes,” he continued. “I think it’s normal when you enter negotiations, you need to balance a little bit, what is the market, you need to listen to everyone else as well. It’s a normal procedure and I think it’s fair as well to listen to all the proposals and to see how the market moves.

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“But I don’t know, in my head Aston was the logical thing for me to do. At the end, it was also the best, and I felt the most wanted in Aston Martin. All the other conversations were just light and never came to any conclusions or something like that. In Aston it was a clear desire to work together, which was the same that I had.”

Alonso went on to explain that Aston Martin’s significant investment in their F1 programme, which includes a new headquarters, wind tunnel and power unit partnership with Japanese automotive giant Honda from 2026, were all crucial factors in his call to stay put.

“To commit to a project, a one-year project, it didn’t make sense for me,” he said. “It’s not that I had one-year proposal elsewhere or anything like that, it was just I was very clear to Aston in the first conversations that the appealing part of this project is everything that we are building.

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“It was the new campus last year, it’s going to be the wind tunnel this year, it’s going be the new regulations in 2026, and Honda coming as a partner. I think that was for me a must, to enter the new regulations with a new project, with a new wind tunnel, and also with Honda as a partner... it was something for me that it was very, very important.

“We have incredible, talented people in the team now on the technical side [and] they will benefit from the new wind tunnel and the new facilities at Silverstone, so there were a lot of factors that made ‘26 very appealing with Aston, and that was a theme. But it’s not only ‘26 – it’s a lifetime project, in a way, for me.

“This is the longest contract I’ve ever signed in my career, so this is something that will keep me linked with Aston for many, many years to come. Let’s see which role, let’s see how many more years I will drive. But even after driving, I will use 25 plus years experience in F1 plus another 10 or 15 outside F1, so nearly 40 years of experience. I’m extremely motivated.”

READ MORE: Dan Fallows hails Aston Martin factory move as ‘massive step forward’ after period of working in portacabins

‘I see a win-win situation’

Alonso was last linked to Honda during their ill-fated partnership with McLaren in the mid-2010s, a challenging time which led to that infamous radio message at Suzuka, but he was quick to point out why he has faith in the manufacturer moving forward.

“Honda is definitely a manufacturer that has so much success in F1, and not [only] F1 [but] in the world of motorsport, that it’s always a company that I respected,” he commented. “It didn’t work for us in McLaren, in the years that they came [back] to the sport, but right after that they fixed all the problems.

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Alonso experienced a difficult time with Honda power at McLaren from 2015 to 2017

“They are currently dominating the sport, and they’ve been world champion for the last few years [with Red Bull]. I think they will have a baseline for 2026 that is already very strong, but also they have the capacity in Sakura of building something really nice. Obviously with the sustainable fuels that we will have in 2026, this is something that also I would love to experiment [with].

“I see a win-win situation and I respect a lot the Japanese culture, as you all know, probably. We just came from Japan, a special race, [I] always [have] a special helmet when I race in Japan, and a Samurai tattoo my back. We have now the opportunity to work again together and that for me is a true pleasure.”

READ MORE: ‘He could perform miracles’ – Fernando Alonso’s debut F1 season remembered by those who were there

‘I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong’

Last weekend’s Grand Prix in Japan happened to mark what Alonso felt was one of the best performances from his 381 starts in F1 to date (the most completed by a driver in the sport’s history), after he qualified fifth and finished sixth, giving him even more confidence that he has everything he needs to keep delivering into his new chapter with Aston Martin.

Indeed, Alonso is approaching the sharp end of the order when it comes to the oldest drivers to compete in F1 at 42 years old, and is set to move even further up the all-time list – just behind the likes of legendary racers Juan Manuel Fangio and Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina – when he races through 2025 and 2026.

“It is true, I will be 45 or more and [still] racing,” he said. “If one day I feel that I’m not motivated, or if one day I feel [during] the race not in good shape, or I feel that I’m not fast – maybe I go to one period of the season that I feel not fast, and I feel not really sharp [during] the race itself, or qualifying or wherever – I think I have a relationship with Aston [that’s] very honest.

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Alonso’s new deal will see him race into his mid-40s, but he feels as fresh as ever

“I will be the first one to raise my hand and say I have maybe lost here or there and we will find solutions, but I don’t see that coming for the next few years. And in Japan probably one of my best races ever maybe happened just five days ago. I’m feeling good, I’m feeling strong, so I don’t see any problem there.”

With a smile, Alonso then pointed out: “Lewis will [be] 40 years next year in January, so at least I will not be the only one 40 plus that you will talk [about]!”

READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Japan – Who tasted success in Suzuka?

On that note, Alonso explained how he is looking forward to the next set of races – which will see more of his family members visit the track as part of a tweaked approach to reduce one of his “worries” about continuing in F1 and missing out on a ‘normal’ life – and not having to answer any more questions about where he will be racing in 2025…

“It will be nice in China when I get to the press conference!” Alonso laughed. “Let’s see which type of questions I have now. I think in Jeddah I said I know there’s a little bit of movement here and there, rumours for everybody, but I’m a little bit outside of that and I will make a decision when it’s time to make a decision.

“After three or four races, as I said always, I made the decision to keep on racing. I’m ready to sacrifice a few more years of my life on normal things, but I’m happy to keep travelling, I feel fresh, I feel physically at the top, I feel motivated. Once I made that decision, it was very easy, as I said, to arrive to a deal with Aston Martin, and we announced it today!”

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