Fernando Alonso says he plans to be in Formula 1 for 'a few more years', adding that he had originally expected to be retired from the sport more than a decade ago.
Alonso moved from Alpine to Aston Martin for 2023, signing what the Silverstone-based team have described as a "multi-year deal".
The 41-year-old began his F1 career back in 2001, winning Championship titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, and currently holds the sport's record for most Grand Prix appearances, having been entered in 361 races as of this year's Australian Grand Prix.
Alonso has shown good form since arriving at Aston Martin, with three consecutive third-place finishes helping his team vault up to second in the Constructors' Championship behind the dominant Red Bulls.
Despite originally planning to retire not long after winning the second of his two World Championship titles in 2006, Alonso says he remains as motivated as ever in his 20th year of F1.
"When I started in Formula 1, my idea was to be for seven or eight years," Alonso said in an interview with Bang & Olufsen.
"Then I won two Championships [in 2005 and 2006] and I thought I will race maybe one or two more years and then I will stop.
"That was my idea, and now I find myself with the longest career ever in Formula 1 and I'm still fresh, still motivated, still enjoying every single day.
"I wake up in the morning and I'm happy with what I'm doing.
"So there is a few more years, I think, more for me, and hopefully with a title contender in the future."
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Can Aston Martin challenge for the title?
Alonso's arrival at Aston Martin has coincided with a considerable upturn in form for the Silverstone-based outfit, who ended the 2022 Constructors' Championship only seventh in the standings, with a best Grand Prix finish of sixth place.
Alonso has previously acknowledged that he wasn't expecting Aston Martin to be this competitive so soon into his time with the team, but cautioned that there remained much for the team to do before a title challenge was possible.
"That's the aim for sure," Alonso said when asked about the possibility of winning his third title.
"But at the moment, we have to keep our feet on the ground. The aim for the team is just to have a good season. They struggled a lot in 2022, so I think we have to walk before [we can] run.
"This 2023 campaign is just about getting better, getting to know the car better, starting a new project from day one, and that's where we are at the moment.
"Hopefully we will have more podiums, hopefully we fight for race wins.
"But to fight for the championship, I think we need to set the team a little bit before doing that."
Balve Baines is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the last week in F1.