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What does Alonso re-signing with Aston Martin mean for F1?

Fernando Alonso re-upping with Aston Martin will have widespread ramifications – for the teams he was linked with and for the free agents still without a drive for next year. So, what does it all mean?

Alonso Aston Martin Saudi Arabia 2024
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Fernando Alonso had been one of the hottest free agents available for the 2025 F1 season. Now, with the news that he has signed a multi-year deal with Aston Martin, it is time to access what it means for everyone else.

In typical Alonso fashion, the announcement was provocative and direct, confirmed in a Michael Jordan-esque press release that simply read: “I am here to stay.”

Whilst he gets a B in originality, he gets an A in style.

He couldn’t quite achieve the shock and magnitude of Lewis Hamilton’s seismic move to Ferrari, but the aftermath may well be just as far-reaching.

The 42-year-old had been expected to be a major player in ‘silly season’, with links to Mercedes, Red Bull and the outside possibility of a second – and likely final – retirement.

However, when all was said and done, he opted to stay right where he was.

In typical Alonso fashion, the announcement was provocative and direct, confirmed in a Michael Jordan-esque press release that simply read: “I am here to stay.”

Reunited with Honda

It will not be lost on anyone, not least Honda and Alonso himself, that the multi-year aspect of his deal will see an unlikely reunion between the two from 2026. Who can forget the Spaniard bemoaning his McLaren’s “GP2 engine” in Japan, of all places.

Interestingly, Alonso himself revealed part of the draw of extending with Aston Martin was the opportunity to partner with Honda. However, that is a matter to delve into another time.

What is more immediately critical is the knock-on effect it has on the rest of the paddock, begging the questions: what does it mean for the teams he was linked with, and what impact does it have on other drivers?

Re-signing with Aston Martin might end up being the great market simplifier, cutting through the noise and nonsense by making the logical call. In choosing the stability of home over the seduction of the unknown, Alonso has streamlined the options for his suitors, who, in time, may come to thank him for it.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Red Bull

Red Bull was always an outside bet, but you would be hard pressed to convince anyone a Max Verstappen-Fernando Alonso line-up would not be the strongest on the grid – mightier even than the Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc-led Ferrari.

However, Red Bull like the simplicity and ease of a one-two pairing, and why upset Max Verstappen?

Throwing Alonso in the mix would have likely besieged the team in even more tension and conflict than it has endured this year. For a team recently shrouded in controversy, Alonso would have been an ingredient too far.

Now, the Milton Keynes outfit can turn its attention to Sergio Perez and maybe, just maybe Carlos Sainz – it is not going to be Daniel Ricciardo, and it was never going to be Yuki Tsunoda, as disappointing as that might be.

Mercedes

Like its bitter rival Red Bull, the Toto Wolff-led team can now narrow its focus. After the George Russell incident in Melbourne, Alonso joining Mercedes felt somewhat less likely, and now we have learnt his true intentions, we know it never would have worked.

Alonso sees himself racing for at least another couple of seasons and being a placeholder for Andrea Kimi Antonelli was evidently a no-go. Mercedes lost Hamilton over it, and they were never likely to risk losing Antonelli over Alonso – look at what happened to Alpine.

Unless Sainz is willing to play the long game and wait out 2025 alongside Russell, Antonelli stepping up to the big leagues with Mercedes – and not with someone like Williams – is looking all the more probable.

Even if Alonso’s compatriot is willing to be a seat warmer, do Mercedes opt for him over its protégé anyway? I am not so sure…

Sergio Perez and Andrea Kimi Antonelli

The big winners in the driver market are undoubtedly Sergio Perez and Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

For the Mexican, he now has one fewer rival to vanquish in the fight to preserve his seat at Red Bull. As I said earlier, it is not going to be Ricciardo, and it was never going to be Tsunoda.

So, unless Carlos Sainz wants to muscle his way in, only a serious loss of form – which we know he is prone to – stands in the way of Perez re-signing. Like with Alonso, I do not see why Red Bull would risk further miring its team with self-inflicted wounds.

As for Antonelli, well, Alonso taking himself off the market could not be better. With Mercedes’ options diminishing and the team not daring to risk losing him, promoting the junior might be its only feasible option.

Whilst the 17-year-old still has to prove himself in F2, where Ollie Bearman is a first-rate benchmark as his PREMA team-mate, what is perhaps more crucial is the F1 testing programme he will embark on in the coming months.

If he can impress Mercedes there, it might be enough to secure the seat alongside Russell – even if his F2 campaign is not quite going to plan.

In short, it is starting to look like Antonelli’s future is now in his hands.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Carlos Sainz and Yuki Tsunoda

If there are two big winners, it would be fair to surmise that there are two big losers. But no.

As the other main player in the driver market, Sainz was intrinsically linked to the movements of Alonso and vice versa, but once one of them signed a contract, that chain was always going to break. So, in reality, there was no zero-sum game between the pair.

As far as I see it, Alonso re-signing with Aston Martin does little to move the needle on Sainz’ future. Even if you take the 42-year-old out of the equation, Perez and Antonelli were always likely ahead of Sainz in the respective pecking orders at Red Bull and Mercedes.

Sainz’ expected destination has always been, and will continue to be, Stake F1 – ahead of Audi’s buyout of Sauber in 2026. Do I think it is his best option? No. Do I think it is the one he was always most probable to take? Yes.

Tsunoda, on the other hand, has lost out from the news of Alonso signing a multi-year deal. Assuming Lance Stroll is also staying put at Aston Martin for the foreseeable future, the door to teaming up with Honda in 2026 has been emphatically slammed shut.

And with Red Bull seemingly unwilling to seriously consider him for a promotion, he appears stuck at RB a la Pierre Gasly.

Of course, by next year the landscape may well have changed – Perez, if he is Red Bull’s choice, may only get a one-year deal and Tsunoda may continue his rich vein of form - but I doubt it.

Aston Martin felt like the Japanese driver’s best bet long-term. Now, that has been taken away.

Sometimes, it’s those who are last thought of who are most affected…

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