The 40-year-old two-time world champion is out of contract at the end of the year but has provided the clearest indication yet that he is keen to remain in F1 despite being the oldest and most experienced driver on the grid. 

With 338 entries to his name across his stints in F1 between 2001-2018 and since returning in 2021, Alonso is behind only the recently retired Kimi Raikkonen on F1’s list of all-time grand prix entries.

The highly-rated Oscar Piastri, who has won back-to-back titles in Formula 3 and Formula 2 over the past two seasons, is acting as Alpine’s reserve driver for 2022 after failing to secure a seat on the grid. 

Piastri’s F1 hopes with Alpine appear to hinge on Alonso’s future given that the French outfit already has Esteban Ocon tied down to a long-term contract running until 2024. 

“I think obviously if I was 25 there will not be this talk, it’s an age thing, that people try to find a way for the young talents, but I think this is about performance,” Alonso said ahead of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. 

“Last year I think I did well, I finished slightly in front of Esteban, let’s see this year how the battle goes. 

“But this is about performance not about age, and I will as I said, at the beginning of the year, I still feel competitive and fast and feel I am enjoying time in Formula 1. 

“I will race I guess a couple more years, two or three more years, if it is with Alpine it will be good, if it is with another team it will be good as well. But I will find out and I will start these discussions probably in summer and let’s see.”

Will Alpine’s 2022 performance be key to Alonso’s future? 

The rebranded Alpine squad is in the second season of its 100-race project to get back to winning ways in F1 and was hoping to capitalise on this year’s rules revolution to close the gap to the leading teams. 

Alpine currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship after the opening two races, with Alonso occupying 13th in the drivers’ standings, 12 points behind teammate Ocon, who is sixth. 

Alonso’s comments indicate he is unlikely to commit his immediate future to Alpine until he has a better understanding of where the team lies performance-wise this season. 

Alpine has brought updates to the floor fences and rear corner of its car for this weekend’s race in Melbourne according to the FIA’s car presentation submission document, although Alonso stressed Alpine’s 2022 challenger is pretty much unchanged compared to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

“We don’t have a hugely different car compared to Jeddah here,” Alonso said. “Hopefully in the next races but we will keep working on the car, on the performance side of it. 

“We are eight-tenths to one-second behind [Ferrari] based on the qualifying gap, so to close that will be a little bit too optimistic but let’s see.

“We need to keep working. It’s early days with this car that you might find something bigger than what you thought at the beginning when you tested on the wind tunnel and maybe you make a huge step. 

“That’s what all the teams try to find during the early months of the championship, but we will do our best.”