Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Alonso to decide on F1 future after early rounds

Formula 1

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Fernando Alonso says he will see how the opening rounds of the 2024 F1 season play out before he decides on his future in the sport.

As the only world champion on the grid without a contract for next year, Alonso has been tipped as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes. However the 42-year-old said the opening races will be key to whether he will continue competing at all.

“First of all, I need to decide if I want to keep racing – that would be the first thing that I need to decide in a few weeks, or in a few races’ time,” he said.

“I feel great now, but I know it’s a demanding calendar. In 2026, there are a different set of regulations as well which maybe are tempting or maybe not – I don’t know. But let’s see. As I said at the car launch, I will wait for few races to decide.”

The 42-year-old is the oldest driver on the grid and Formula 1’s most experienced ever racer. He is due to start his 400th grand prix later this year.

Aston Martin surprised many in the paddock in Bahrain last season by finishing closest to the dominant Red Bulls. Alonso insists that it is impossible to accurately judge the performance of Aston Martin or any of the ten teams based on the results of this weekend’s season opener.

“Let’s wait a couple of races. I think even Bahrain is a very specific track in terms of characteristics. So we will have to go through Saudi Arabia, Australia – maybe even Japan – to really have an order between the performance of the teams.

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“But I think the car is a step forward – which is the first goal for winter testing – compared to last year. Everything has delivered as expected. Maybe our step between last year and this year is good enough or not good enough – we will find out, as I said, in the first couple of races.”

Besides producing a more consistently competitive car this year, Alonso says Aston Martin needs to continue improving as a team to become world championship contenders.

“What I see in the team is a different approach than 2023, when we started with a good baseline and it was a shock for us, maybe, how good it was at the beginning. Then we were not a big team also off-track, in terms of developing the car and things like that. We learned a lot of lessons last year.

“So in the way of becoming a contender for the championship in the future, I think it was an important season for Aston Martin. I think in 2024, we start with a good baseline, yes, but with a lot of things in the pipeline for the rest of the season. So it will be interesting to see if we can keep the pace of development of the car compared to the top teams, which obviously we didn’t meet those expectations last year and we want to improve in that regard.”

Alonso says that the results of the first race of the season in Bahrain may not necessarily reflect how they will perform in the rounds that immediately follow.

“I think it’s quite unique here in Bahrain, especially with the asphalt and the characteristics of the race,” he explained. “Very rear-limited in terms of degradation. So I think we really need to wait a few races to set the competitive order of all the teams.

“Also, we do a lot of testing here in the winter – it’s the only track that we test. So between the test and the race, you can mix a little bit the order and be confused. So I would not pay too much attention to the results just with this first race if I was you.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on “Alonso to decide on F1 future after early rounds”

  1. 400th grand prix later this year… dude! Not so long ago, even the 200th mark seemed so high and was surpassed by only a handful of drivers.

    1. Longevity plays a part, but it’s also just the math. Used to be 16ish races a year, and you’d need 13 full seasons to hit 200. Now, you need less than 8. And if you get to 13 seasons with today’s race frequency, you’re pushing 350.

      Granted, Alonso started in the 16ish days. But for newcomers, they will surpass 400 in their 15th year. Which is a long F1 career, but something we’ll see people hit. Expect someone to hit 500.

  2. For pities sake don’t leave us Fernando.
    You are one of the few interesting people in the sport.
    The majority of the others just behave like plastic corporate dolls who say what they are told to, when they are told to, by the PR and Advertising teams.

    I want people with opinions and attitudes even if I disagree with them – real people.

    1. I want a plastic doll like that.

  3. I think he might fare better by dropping the hint making and just had a set of business cards with his phone number in bold sent to Toto each day.
    Still, why go direct when you can have so much fun making the media do your message carrying?

  4. I hope he will milk this 100%.
    Like coming to practice with a can of Red Bull. Or show is Mercedes keyfob during the cooldown.

  5. “I think it’s quite unique here in Bahrain, especially with the asphalt and the characteristics of the race,” he explained. “Very rear-limited in terms of degradation. So I think we really need to wait a few races to set the competitive order of all the teams.

    They say that every year, but last year the race was dominated by Red Bull, with Ferrari second (until Leclerc’s DNF), followed by Aston Martin and Mercedes.

  6. Whilst I don’t especially ‘like’ Fernando, I do think he is good for the sport, so I hope he continues.

  7. Really hope he carries on. He’s as relentless and fast as ever and a huge positive for the sport.

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