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Alonso drops a fresh hint over his F1 future

Despite being the oldest driver on the F1 grid, and Alpine keen to promote Oscar Piastri to a race seat, Fernando Alonso has dismissed suggestions that he might step down from F1 at the end of the season.

Fernando Alonso says he would love to continue in F1 for another couple of years, even as he approaches his 41st birthday. The Spaniard's contract with Alpine expires at the end of this season, and with teammate Esteban Ocon locked in at Enstone until 2024, and the team eager to promote the promising Oscar Piastri, there had been speculation that Alonso might step down at the end of the year in order to accommodate the young Australian. But Alonso dismissed suggestions that he was looking to leave F1, saying that his motivation and driving ability both remain undimmed. "Next year or the next two years I would love to continue and keep driving because I feel at my best right now and it would be wrong to watch F1 from home while I still feel 100 per cent of my abilities," Alonso told BBC Sport . "When I feel it is not that way, I will be the first to raise my hand and stop because F1 is very demanding; you have to sacrifice a lot of things in life to keep racing. But at the moment it is still worth doing it."

Alonso: Age is not a factor

At 40, Alonso is the oldest driver on the F1 grid by over three years, yet he insisted that age has no bearing on his performance, adding that he felt revitalised after a two-year stint out of F1 between leaving McLaren in 2018 and joining Alpine for 2021. "Age is not a factor in motorsport," said Alonso. "In other sports it is different. You have to rely on your physical condition and things like that, but in motorsport I would [rather] have one new front or rear wing than three years less than I have. That would give me more performance for sure. "The two years out of the sport was enough to completely reset my mind and also the physical condition and be happy training and preparing the races. "I am as good as when I was 25 or 30."

Informal contract talks underway

With his current Alpine deal set to expire soon, Alonso revealed that he had begun informal discussions to extend it with team CEO Laurent Rossi. "We didn't talk officially," said Alonso. "We just had a couple of coffees. But I think the possibility will be there. "The motivation is still there to win and to close that gap [to the front] even if we know how extremely difficult it is going to be. "We know there are a couple of things we can do. This first year of the new regulations you learn a lot from other cars and other philosophies, so there are a lot of shortcuts in performance you can find very easily."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying