What Fernando Alonso’s renewal means for the F1 driver market’s other key players

How will Fernando Alonso staying at Aston Martin impact the rest of the F1 driver market?

1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20, 2nd place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB20 and 3rd place Carlos
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20, 2nd place Sergio…

Fernando Alonso’s decision to stick with Aston Martin confirmed the next key piece of the F1 driver market puzzle.

Alonso’s “multi-year” contract renewal ties him to Aston Martin until at least the end of the 2026 season, and takes the two-time world champion out of the equation for potential openings at Red Bull and Mercedes next year.

It also has major implications for the rest of the drivers still seeking to secure their futures for 2025 and beyond.

Alonso’s extension with Aston Martin may well strengthen Sergio Perez’s case to retain his Red Bull seat.

Perez is out of contract at the end of the year and entered the season facing huge pressure to keep hold of his drive. But his improved form in 2024 could be enough to see him stay alongside Max Verstappen.

Alonso staying at Aston Martin removes one competitor from the picture, further boosting Perez’s hopes of extending his tenure with the reigning world champions.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has stated that the seat is “Perez’s to lose” and the Mexican will surely be breathing a sigh of relief now that Alonso won’t be sniffing around. 

Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka, Japan, Qualifying Day.
Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) RB VCARB 01. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4,…

With Daniel Ricciardo underperforming at sister team RB, Yuki Tsunoda - who had been linked with Aston Martin - may turn out to be Perez’s main competition for the Red Bull seat.

That is, assuming Red Bull don’t move to snap up free agent Carlos Sainz, who has been an unfortunate victim of Lewis Hamilton’s shock switch to Ferrari, leaving the Spaniard without a drive for 2025.

While Horner has named Sainz as a candidate for a Red Bull seat, ensuring Verstappen - whose own future has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks - stays happy is in Red Bull’s best interests.

The idea of a competitive and determined Sainz arriving at Red Bull probably wouldn’t be too well received by the Verstappen camp. ‘Team Max' - comprising Verstappen, his father Jos and manager Raymond Vermeulen - wield a lot of power at Red Bull and one would imagine they would prefer to maintain the status quo, than risk upsetting the applecart.

With the Aston Martin door now slammed shut, and Mercedes seemingly favouring the notion of promoting their highly-rated teenage protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli straight from F2 to fill Hamilton’s vacant seat, Sainz’s options are narrowing.

Unless Red Bull make the bold decision that they do want to partner Sainz with Verstappen again, the Spaniard could be left with Sauber/Audi and Williams as his most likely landing spots.

Perez and Sainz are the next two major dominoes to fall and wherever they end up will have repercussions further down the grid. 

Read More