Interview: Who will Alonso race for in 2025?

12th February 2024
Damien Smith

Fernando Alonso is the central figure in the 2025 Formula 1 ‘silly season’. Yes, before a wheel has turned in anger for the campaign to come, the one that comes next will be a clear distraction in the coming months – if not for the drivers themselves, who must stay in the moment to keep their currency high, then certainly for the rest of us.


On the one hand, it’s remarkable that a 42-year-old – who will turn 43 on July 29 – should be the pivotal figure for who goes where now Lewis Hamilton has thrown in his Ferrari-shaped grenade. On the other, it’s Alonso we’re talking about – and we stopped being amazed at his longevity some time ago, especially in the wake of his stellar performances last season in what was his first for Aston Martin.

Beyond his natural status as an A-grade talent of the ages, what’s perhaps more intriguing is how carefully and purposely he puts himself central to the story, in a manner that is typical Alonso. He knows how to play the game, always has done – and does so with a flourish.

In a media call on Sunday afternoon ahead of the Monday launch of the new Aston Martin AMR24, the question of his future beyond the immediate season to come inevitably proved the dominant topic of conversation. Alonso was as eloquent and precise in what he said as ever.

He made it abundantly clear that “there are a couple of phases” he needs to go through before his plans can be finalised. First, he must decide whether he wants to commit more of his 40s to F1. If that’s a ‘yes’ – which, given the competitive warrior we’re talking about, seems likely – his priority is to stay put with Aston Martin. But then he also added that if an agreement can’t be reached he’ll be open to look elsewhere. And he pointed out more than once the “unique” value of his own currency.


On a Zoom call from the team’s Silverstone HQ, Alonso sat without a baseball cap, looking relaxed – and extremely lean. He even looked a little gaunt, after a short off-season in which he has tweaked a few things about his intense preparation. Age has to be a factor even for Alonso when there is a record-breaking 24-race season to be negotiated, and he’s taken special measures to be ready.

“I feel good. I feel fitter than ever,” he said. “The numbers that we achieved in all the physical tests we do every season, they were the best ever this year. I was training a little bit differently, adding a nutritionist to the team which changed our way of seeing things to prepare the body. Everything I do in life and everything I did in the last few months were just to prepare myself better than ever for a very long season. Also to prepare myself in case I want to keep driving, being better than ever.”

He revealed the nutritional change is towards a plant-based diet, “maybe not completely strict but into that route”. He is using every tool he can find, like an ageing jockey still starving himself to stay at his race weight, and making every and any sacrifice that’s needed to keep himself sharp.

His train of thought on his future is methodical. “If I commit to a project in the future, for next year or the next few years, I need to be first ready myself to commit to that,” he explained. “I will not drive a few more years in F1 just to drive and have fun, I’m not that kind of driver, not that kind of person. If I want to keep driving it is because I know starting with myself that I can give 200 per cent to the team on and off track: simulator work, marketing work, delivering the result on track. I’m preparing for that in the eventuality I want to keep racing, and if I want to keep racing let’s see what the options are.”


Earlier on, team principal Mike Krack proclaimed: “We love Fernando. We have a very good relationship with him, he is an integral member of the team and it is a relationship based on trust and openness. We would be delighted honestly to continue into 2025 and the year after.”

Whether that deal can be struck is another case entirely, of course. But Krack will be heartened by Alonso’s stated preference – if he decides to race on. “My first priority will be always to sit down and discuss with Aston,” he said. “They gave me the opportunity last year to join this organisation which I am very proud to be a part of. With the new factory, with everything that is going on, there is a great future for this team and I want to explore every possibility to race for many years here.”

For now, he must focus on kicking off the 2024 season on the right note, after a first season in green that overdelivered in the early months only to tail off, then recover slightly before the end of the campaign. Alonso is annoyed that each driver will only be given a day and a half of testing in Bahrain, sharing the three-day test equally with their teammates on February 21-23 – ahead of the first race at the same venue on March 2.

“Because it is so limited I cannot think too much about the future right now,” he said “I will have to wait a few races.”


But then, just as a reminder he’s a free agent beyond this season, he pointed out his special value… “I am very aware of my situation, which is very unique. There are only three world champions on the grid, and fast world champions, because in the past there were maybe world champions who were not so committed to be fast.” 

A dig at his predecessor Sebastian Vettel or Kimi Räikkönen – or perhaps both? “And I’m probably the only one available for 2025, so I have a good position. At the same time, when I make the decision if I want to keep racing or not for the future first the only talk I will have in the beginning is with Aston Martin because that will be my only priority.”

But then there’s the question of age. His answer to just how long he can go on was equally revealing. “A few years ago I would have said 41, maybe 42, was the limit. Now after I saw myself last year motivated and performing well I was thinking maybe that I could keep racing a few more years. Now this winter I have been exceeding a little bit the expectations in terms of all the physical tests, I would say if you are motivated and if you want to commit you can drive maybe until 48, 49 and 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” – for two of those he was racing for Toyota in sportscars and was briefly out of F1, but OK, the point still stands – “and I gave my life for 24 years to this sport, which I’m happy [about], I’m OK with that. I can keep doing it for a few more years – but I don’t know if I will still be racing until 50 with such a demanding calendar. It’s not for the abilities, but because there are other things in life I am curious [about].”


He mentioned that over the winter he’d driven an Aston Martin DTM car, tried a car-cross machine, a rally car, and inevitably did some karting. Whenever Alonso is finished with F1 – or F1 is finished with him – he’ll likely race on elsewhere, just as he did between 2019 and 2021. He’ll probably bid to emulate Carlos Sainz Sr and try to win a couple of Dakar Rallies. As he said, he loves driving and loves this sport.

But right now he remains central to the F1 world. And the question that hangs over him is, will he replace Hamilton at Mercedes-AMG when the seven-time champion heads off for Maranello at season’s end? “I don’t care what Lewis Hamilton is doing,” Alonso said with a little sharpness at one point. No, he doesn’t. But Hamilton’s move leaves his old McLaren team-mate with potential options – and Mercedes will surely have to consider Alonso an option for its prized seat beside George Russell.

But there’s another question, one the ageing warrior might have to consider too before he chooses his path: might he not be better off staying exactly where he is? Is Mercedes really a better option for the future than Aston Martin? The answer, or at least an indication, might well come when the 2024 season rolls into action. Not long now.

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • Fernando Alonso

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  • F1 2025

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