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Fernando Alonso

Why Alonso's 'unique' situation puts him in contention for a Mercedes seat

Fernando Alonso believes he has a 'unique' opportunity heading into the driver market for 2025. Should he decide to continue, the Spaniard is in prime position to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

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You could put Fernando Alonso in the same category as Novak Djokovic, Tom Brady, or James Milner, as an athlete that is far exceeding their sell-by date in a world that is often focused on the next young talent.

Alonso proved last year in Formula 1 that he still has the hunger and ability to operate at the top of his game and earn podiums, providing he is given a car that can do the business on track.

He earned eight podiums last year, the most of any non-Red Bull driver, and came close to putting Aston Martin on the top step when it looked like Max Verstappen was unstoppable.

The news that Lewis Hamilton will be leaving Mercedes at the end of the season for Ferrari has rippled the driver market for 2025, leading to questions over who will follow on from the seven-time World Champion.

There are a few free agents available for 2025, namely Esteban Ocon who has retained his links to Mercedes, Alex Albon (although Red Bull has an option on him), and Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard was asked about his future at the recent launch of the AMR24, telling media, including RacingNews365: "I cannot think too much about the future right now, I will have to wait a few races. I'm aware of my situation, which is very unique."

The world champion dynasty

The "unique" aspect of Alonso's current situation is that he is the only driver to have won a World Championship on the grid that is a free agent for 2025 and beyond.

"There are only three world champions on the grid and fast world champions, because in the past maybe there were some world champions where they were not so committed to be fast," explained Alonso.

"I'm probably the only one available for 2025, so I am in a good position."

Mercedes has a relationship with employing World Champions, having ran Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 and 1955, then signing Michael Schumacher for their comeback in 2010.

Lewis Hamilton followed having won his first title in 2008 under Mercedes power at McLaren, while Nico Rosberg earned his one and only Drivers' Championship in 2016.

Only Valtteri Bottas did not win a title while driving for the Silver Arrows in the modern era, while George Russell has surely shown the qualities that could lead to him becoming Briton's next title holder.

Curiously, should Alonso join Mercedes in 2025, he will end start the season at 43 years-old. Fangio was 43 years-old when he took his second title with Mercedes in 1954.

Experience over youth?

Andrea Kimi Antonelli is billed as the next Max Verstappen, with him set to compete in the Formula 2 championship at just 17 years-old after being fast-tracked by Mercedes.

It would mimic Hamilton's rise to McLaren if Mercedes was to take a punt on employing him, making it one of its youngest lineups in its 70-year F1 history.

Alonso is the known quantity that would likely please the Mercedes board more, while for him it would represent his last shot at potentially winning a title before retirement for good.

Aston Martin will be switching to Honda power for 2026, a brand that Alonso has got a precarious relationship with after they let him down during their days at McLaren and his attempt at winning the Indy 500 - likely his only shot at winning the triple crown.

He later followed up his sensational "GP2 engine" comments by winning Le Mans twice with Honda's direct Japanese rival Toyota.

Either way, Alonso made it clear that a move to Mercedes power would not come without consultation with his current employers: "When I make the decision if I want to keep racing at all for the future, first and only talk that I will have at the beginning is with Aston Martin, because that will be my only one priority."

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