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Fernando Alonso

Alonso ally details insightful background to Aston Martin extension

Earlier this year Fernando Alonso signed a new two-year extension to a contract that ties him to Aston Martin through to the end of 2026.

Alonso Miami Sunday
To news overview © XPBimages

Pedro de la Rosa had a sense Fernando Alonso wanted to continue on in F1 "halfway through last year" despite Aston Martin going through a troubled period at the time.

When Alonso departed Alpine for Aston Martin at the end of 2022 on a two-year contract, the suggestion was that the two-time Formula 1 champion was staring into the sunset of his career.

The team then flew out of the traps on the back of new aerodynamic regulations, with Alonso scoring six podiums in the first eight races before the performance of the car started to wane as the team took a wrong turn with its upgrade development.

Coming into this season, there was speculation surrounding Alonso's future and whether he would continue beyond the end of this year, with the 42-year-old stating he needed time to make a decision but would not keep the team waiting.

Alonso eventually signed a new two-year contract through to the end of 2026 that will take him past his 45th birthday.

"The fact he wanted to continue with this team, not for one year, two years, is just amazing," said Aston Martin ambassador De la Rosa, speaking exclusively to RacingNews365.

"When Fernando came here last year, I really honestly - he never said - but I felt this is the last year, and I mean this year '24.

"But immediately, halfway through last year, even during the hard times we faced, you could feel he wanted to continue, and that's another example of motivation, but also proof of how happy he was in the team."

Alonso was true to his word

When it was announced Lewis Hamilton would be leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of this season after triggering a break clause in a renewed contract he only signed midway through last year, it was the spark that lit up the driver market.

Naturally, Alonso was then linked with potential moves to Mercedes and Red Bull before instead choosing to remain loyal to Aston Martin.

"I could sense he wanted to continue," remarked De la Rosa. "That doesn't mean that he said he wanted to continue, it was a personal feeling, because he was enjoying himself.

"However, he was always very honest with the team in that he always said he would take a decision by April. The driver market changed in that time but he kept to his word.

"For him, it was not important if there was any other team with gaps or potential seats available. He said to the team, 'Wait, I will take a decision when I'm ready'. I think it just proves how strong he is."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying