Fernando Alonso has clarified that there has been no engagement with Mercedes regarding a potential move, following speculations after Lewis Hamilton announced his departure from Mercedes to join Ferrari next year.
Caught off guard by Hamilton’s unexpected shift, especially mid-contract, Alonso expressed his astonishment. The two-time world champion, who previously raced for Ferrari, reflected on Hamilton’s strong association with Mercedes and his seemingly unwavering loyalty to the team, which made the news quite startling.
“Probably it was a surprise, I will not lie. But not because of the change itself, it was just because from the outside, it seemed like he was very linked with Mercedes and very loyal to them and things like that. It was a little bit unexpected,” said Alonso.
Rumours quickly surfaced linking Alonso to Mercedes as Hamilton’s successor, given that Alonso’s current contract with Aston Martin is set to conclude at the end of 2024. However, Alonso, at 42, emphasized his current focus is on Aston Martin and mentioned, “On the Mercedes thing, there has been nothing at all.”
He pointed out the early start of this year’s driver market but insisted it wouldn’t distract him from the upcoming season’s preparations, especially with the limited pre-season testing in Bahrain.
He continued: “I know the driver market has started earlier this year than probably June or July, which is the normal timing, but this will not affect me at all in terms of preparing the season good enough.
“We have a very limited pre-season testing in Bahrain, and because it’s so limited, 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. There are only three world champions on the grid [Alonso, Hamilton and Max Verstappen], and they are fast world champions, because in the past maybe there were some world champions who were not so committed to being fast.
Alonso highlighted his unique position in the F1 grid, being one of the only three current world champions, alongside Hamilton and Max Verstappen, noting his availability for the 2025 season. He made it clear, however, that any future decisions would prioritize discussions with Aston Martin.
“I’m probably the only champion available for ’25, so I have a good position. At the same time, when I make the decision if I want to keep racing or not for the future, first and the only talk that I will have at the beginning is with Aston Martin, because this will be my only one priority.”
Despite being the oldest driver in Formula 1, Alonso is undecided about his future in the sport beyond this season. He expressed his passion for racing, having spent the winter driving various types of vehicles, and acknowledged his love for F1.
“I think there are a couple of phases that I need to go through. First of all, I need to decide myself what I want to do for the future,” said the Aston Martin driver.
He continued: “If I want to commit my life, again, for a few more years to this sport, which I love. But I love driving, I’ve been driving different cars all over the winter: DTM car, car cross, rally car, go kart itself… So I love Formula One, but generally I love driving. So if it’s not Formula One, I will find myself happy in any other form of motorsport, and maybe having more time for my private life, which is also very important at this age.