Fernando Alonso is reportedly keeping a close eye on the looming Mercedes vacancy created by Lewis Hamilton’s exit.
Hamilton will spend the F1 2024 season with Mercedes before their illustrious association ends when he moves to Ferrari next year.
Ferrari tying down Hamilton and Charles Leclerc, and McLaren extending Lando Norris’ contract, plus the possibility of an available Red Bull next year has also created seismic movement in the driver market.
Aston Martin’s Alonso has watched these early moves with “great interest”, F1-Insider reports.
He is “already trying to position himself” with the high-profile 2025 vacancies in mind.
His well-connected manager Flavio Briatore, who brought him from Alpine to Aston Martin at the end of 2022, is a key figure because of his prominence in the paddock.
However, the same report states that Alonso “may not be on Toto Wolff's list yet, but is likely to be very soon”.
The Mercedes team principal was quizzed about replacing Hamilton with a blockbuster name like Max Verstappen or Alonso.
His response to Motorsport-Magazin was: “I wouldn't have thought that Lewis would tell me that he was going to drive for Ferrari next year.
“That's why I wouldn't rule anything out in Formula 1.
“Drivers make decisions about whether or not to ride for a team. It depends on the circumstances.
“And if at some point a driver says he doesn't want to drive anymore, there is little remedy for it. That's why I wouldn't rule anything out, no one at any time.
"We will always strive to have the best possible driver combination in our car and look for each and every one of these conversations.
“You can see how quickly a situation can change. At the same time, of course, we respect contracts that exist.
“Drivers will always want to sit in the fastest car.”
Alonso’s contract with Aston Martin is due to expire at the end of this season.
At 42, he is the oldest driver on the F1 grid.
But he shot back into form a year ago upon his arrival at Aston Martin, rolling back the years with six podiums in the first half of the season.
Alonso is no stranger to high-profile moves to new teams, either.
After his two F1 titles with Renault he switched to McLaren where he was Hamilton’s first teammate.
He then later a big-money switch to Ferrari which went sour, so he went back to McLaren.
Even his move to Aston Martin for the 2023 season was a bolt from the blue, when it emerged that he would replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel.
But could he now be the driver to replace Hamilton at Mercedes?