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Fernando Alonso

RacingNews365's view on Alonso remaining with Aston Martin

One of the most appetising F1 free agents is now off the table, so the RacingNews365 team is here to delve into the surprise announcement and what it means for some of the teams and drivers in F1 - as well as Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso himself.

Alonso Bahrain test
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

It has not quite been the biggest news of the 2024 F1 'silly season', but Fernando Alonso re-signing with Aston Martin has provided a clearer picture of where everyone might end up, when all is said and done - something Lewis Hamilton's shock Ferrari announcement did not do.

There is much to unpick, and with a number of drivers and teams affected, the crew at RacingNews365 take you through the major considerations and how it came to pass.

Here's what we had to say about it.

Samuel Coop - What is good for the goose is good for the gander

Honestly, it’s the best thing for all involved. Aston Martin gets its man, and it simplifies the driver market and makes things easier for the other key players – Red Bull and Mercedes.

The team he remains with is clearly the big winner here. Alonso was the strongest driver available and appears to have bought into the long-term project with Honda. Following the announcement, he struck an unusually conciliatory tone, even if the press release was typically him. It’s certainly one for the romantics, just imagine the redemption arc.

In return for staying put, Alonso gets the stability and security of a known commodity – plus, I’m not sure you would risk that for the potential small gain of going to Mercedes, who continue to be riddled with insecurity around the current regulations.

So, I don’t completely prescribe to the belief that Alonso has only stayed with Aston Martin because no other attractive options were available.

The Red Bull question, however, is more puzzling. I cannot help but wonder if whether the seat alongside Max Verstappen had been offered – or at the very least looked like an option – that Alonso would have jumped at it. I guess we will never know, but opting to retain Sergio Perez was always the logical decision. Surely it is just a matter of time.

Looking at the drivers affected, I do not think it really changes much for Carlos Sainz. Sure, Aston Martin no longer seems like a possibility given Lance Stroll’s standing in the team, but even before Hamilton joined Ferrari, Audi seemed like his long-term home – even if it might not befit his ability.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli has to be considered a shoo-in at Mercedes but spare a thought for Yuki Tsunoda – he must feel like the rug has been pulled from beneath him.

Jake Nichol - Early bird doesn't quite get the worm

The 2025 driver market was shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable in years, but Alonso has taken a little of the 'X Factor' out with his re-signing with Aston - and in doing so, he's snookered fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

With seats open at Mercedes and potentially also Red Bull, it does feel a little odd for the uber-competitive Alonso to remove himself from the conversation around both seats, even if it is a giant approval for the Aston project.

But he would not have signed so early if there was any indication, however slim, of a chance at Mercedes or Red Bull, and that indicates a few things.

Firstly, it suggests the one-man band that Alonso sometimes deploys was politely turned away at reception in Brackley or that he was not particularly enthused about rebuilding Mercedes, which will surely now give the drive to Andrea Kimi Antonelli - given Sainz is not thought to be a realistic candidate.

As for Red Bull, the idea of becoming Verstappen's team-mate probably didn't seem that appealing, and given the tensions already at that team, Alonso is far down the list of drivers you'd put next to Verstappen.

The dominoes have already begun to fall, if you plot out how the driver market will fare in 2025 with Alonso's decision - and for once, he won't be at the heart of it.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Fergal Walsh - The natural course of action

It’s quite funny that Alonso opted to come back to F1 at a ripe age (for a driver) in 2021 in anticipation of a grid shake-up through new technical regulations. Now, on the verge of turning 43, Alonso is committing his future once again to F1 in the hope that another chance comes at the start of a new era.

But a big surprise in this scenario is how early the decision has been made. But stopping to think about it, it’s the option that makes the most sense for the two-time world champion.

What does he have to gain at Red Bull going up against Max Verstappen? While it would make for exciting viewing, it is understood across the grid that it’s Max’s team and stepping into his territory could result in devastating consequences. There’s no guarantee that Alonso would find his feet at the Verstappen-led environment - is that prospect really worth adding a few more wins to his already impressive tally?

Mercedes’ ongoing slump has resulted in the appeal of the Brackley-based squad being stripped back and it’s no longer the front running titan it once was.

One poetic aspect is the fact Alonso will be reunited with Honda in 2026 after his scathing criticism of its power units during his return to McLaren, presenting an opportunity to cast a veil over that dark time for both parties.

Alonso has fit into Aston Martin like a glove and building the existing partnership to something beyond simply being a driver is clearly on his mind. The deal itself isn’t simply a commitment to the Aston Martin F1 team - it’s a dedication to the brand itself.

Nick Golding – Alonso's latest trick

A lot of the recent 'silly season' speculation has been caused by Alonso announcing at the start of the campaign that retirement was a real option.

His new two-year deal with Aston Martin does raise the question: was retirement ever really a consideration?

It does seem that perhaps stating that it was a possibility is simply the latest of his tricks, as signing a two-year deal hardly screams of wanting to leave F1.

However, what is it at Aston Martin that has made him agree to two more seasons at the very least? The answer appears to be Honda, who will power the Silverstone-based outfit in 2026.

Honda has been the class leader of F1 engines in recent years, and possibly Alonso has the hope that the Japanese manufacturer will propel Aston Martin forward.

Is a title realistic with Aston Martin though? Seemingly, no, at least not the Constructors' championship. But only time will tell...

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