What were Fernando Alonso’s other F1 options and why did he reject them?

Fernando Alonso has explained his reasons for staying at Aston Martin over other options he had.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Fernando Alonso has provided some intriguing insight behind his decision to stay at Aston Martin in F1 for at least the next two seasons.

A new “multi-year” contract extension, announced by Aston Martin on Thursday, will keep Alonso racing in F1 until his 45th birthday, but it has not been ruled out that he could go beyond that age.

Alonso’s future at Aston Martin had appeared to be in some doubt following hints about retirement, and finding himself linked to potential seats at Red Bull and Mercedes.

But why did the two-time world champion ultimately recommit to the Silverstone-based outfit he joined in 2023?

“I think we both wanted the same; I wanted to keep racing with Aston Martin, Aston Martin wanted also to keep me in the seat,” Alonso said as he explained his decision.

“When two parties want something at one point you reach an agreement, so I’m extremely excited to keep racing and to keep racing with this team, which I feel at home [with].

“It was also a sense of loyalty that I wanted to express to my team. I felt this is just the beginning of the journey... it could not be the end of the journey for me and Aston Martin.”

Was retirement ever really on the cards?

Alonso was rather cryptic about his future and the subject of possible retirement before the 2024 season began, having suggested that he would make a final decision after a few races.

But when asked if retirement was a genuine option for him, the Spaniard replied: “Not really. I think it never went to my mind, retirement. I had 99% confidence that I will keep racing next year, so retirement was not an option.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan,
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24. Formula 1 World…

Alonso added: “I think it didn’t change much from when we spoke in February at the car launch. I needed a few races, or a few weeks, to really think about myself, if I was ready to commit [to] more years in F1, because the calendars are just a little bit more intense now, the cars as well, the commitment.

“My love for F1 and my love for Aston Martin didn’t change, but I just wanted this time to really speak with myself and make the decision and the commitment. Obviously, F1 takes all your time, all your energy, you have to give up basically everything in life to keep racing, and I wanted to just speak with myself [to see] if I was ready to do so.

“Once I took the decision, I think it was after Australia or something like that, I sat with Aston, which again is exactly the same as what I said in February, that it will be my first priority.”

What about Red Bull or Mercedes?

With Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari in 2025, Alonso had emerged as a contender to take the seven-time world champion’s vacant seat at Mercedes.

Alonso was also viewed as a potential candidate for a prime seat at Red Bull, either as a replacement for the out-of-contract Sergio Perez, or in the unlikely event Max Verstappen opted to make a shock departure.

Alonso admitted he did talk to other unnamed teams, but stressed he felt “most wanted” by Aston Martin.

“I did speak with other people as well, yes,” he said. “I think it’s normal when you enter negotiations, you need to balance a little bit, what is the market, you need to listen to everyone else as well.

“It’s a normal procedure and I think it’s fair as well to listen to all the proposals and to see how the market moves.”

(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team on the drivers' parade.
(L to R): Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing and Fernando Alonso (ESP)…

Although Alonso did not disclose which teams he spoke to, or the details of the conversations that took place, his explanation made it clear that he had zero interest in a short-term deal.

“To commit to a one-year project, it didn’t make sense for me,” he continued. “It’s not that I had a one-year proposal elsewhere or anything like that, it was just I was very clear to Aston in the first conversations that the appealing part of this project is everything that we are building.

“It was the new campus last year, it’s going to be the wind tunnel this year, it’s going be the new regulations in 2026, and Honda coming as a partner. I think that was for me a must, to enter the new regulations with a new project, with a new wind tunnel, and also with Honda as a partner... it was something for me that was very, very important.

“We have incredible, talented people in the team now on the technical side [and] they will benefit from the new wind tunnel and the new facilities at Silverstone, so there were a lot of factors that made ‘26 very appealing with Aston, and that was a theme. But it’s not only ‘26 – it’s a lifetime project, in a way, for me.

“This is the longest contract I’ve ever signed in my career, so this is something that will keep me linked with Aston for many, many years to come. Let’s see which role, let’s see how many more years I will drive. But even after driving, I will use 25 plus years experience in F1 plus another 10 or 15 outside F1, so nearly 40 years of experience. I’m extremely motivated.”

Read More