Alonso Boasts An Advantage For Mercedes Drive

Fernando Alonso views himself as having a distinct edge that could place him as the successor to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Lee Parker

By Lee Parker
Updated on March 8, 2024

Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Speaking to Media

Fernando Alonso’s career longevity is reminiscent of elite athletes like Novak Djokovic, Tom Brady, and James Milner, who continue to defy expectations in sports increasingly favouring younger stars.

Last season in Formula 1, Fernando Alonso demonstrated his enduring drive and skill, securing podium finishes by leveraging a competitive car. His eight podiums were the highest tally for any driver outside the Red Bull team, nearly leading Aston Martin to victory against the dominant Max Verstappen.

Formula One History Recommends

Lewis Hamilton’s upcoming departure from Mercedes to Ferrari has stirred the 2025 driver market, raising speculation about his potential successor. The market includes several notable free agents, such as Esteban Ocon, with ties to Mercedes, Alex Albon, who is under consideration by Red Bull, and Alonso himself.

At the AMR24 launch, Alonso addressed inquiries about his career prospects, sharing insights with Formula One History and other media outlets: “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.”

The Legacy of Champions

The distinctive feature of Alonso’s position is that he stands as the sole World Championship-winning driver on the grid who is available as a free agent for 2025 and beyond.

“There are only three world champions on the grid and fast world champions, because in the past maybe there were some world champions where they were not so committed to be fast,” explained Alonso.

“I’m probably the only one available for 2025, so I am in a good position.”

Mercedes has a tradition of aligning with World Champions, starting with the tenure of Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 and 1955, followed by bringing Michael Schumacher on board for their 2010 return to Formula 1.

Lewis Hamilton joined after securing his first championship in 2008 with Mercedes-powered McLaren, and Nico Rosberg clinched his singular Drivers’ Championship with the team in 2016.

Valtteri Bottas, in contrast, did not capture a title during his time with Mercedes in the recent era, while George Russell has displayed potential that suggests he could be Britain’s next champion.

Interestingly, if Alonso were to join Mercedes in 2025, he would begin the season at 43, the same age Fangio was when he won his second championship with Mercedes in 1954. Does this suggest a preference for experience over youth?

Andrea Kimi Antonelli touted as the next Max Verstappen is poised to enter the Formula 2 championship at merely 17, backed by Mercedes. This move could echo Hamilton’s ascendancy at McLaren, potentially marking Mercedes’ youngest lineup in its 70-year Formula 1 history.

Alonso, with his proven track record, might be a safer bet for Mercedes’ executives, offering him a final chance at a championship before he retires.

Aston Martin’s switch to Honda power in 2026 adds another layer, considering Alonso’s strained history with Honda during their stint at McLaren and his Indy 500 endeavour, which marred his chances at the triple crown. Despite his critical “GP2 engine” remarks, he later secured two Le Mans victories with Toyota, Honda’s Japanese rival.

Nonetheless, Alonso has emphasised that any decision to move to Mercedes would be made in consultation with his current team.

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

Lee is our staff writer specialising in anything technical within Formula 1 from aerodynamics to engines. Lee writes most of our F1 guides for beginners and experienced fans having followed the sports since 1991, researching and understanding how teams build the ultimate machines. Like everyone else on the team he listens to podcasts about F1 and enjoys reading biographies of former drivers.

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