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Fernando Alonso: Aston Martin driver signs contract extension to remain with team until 2026

Fernando Alonso has signed a deal to remain with Aston Martin until the end of the 2026 Formula 1 season; the 42-year-old Spaniard had been linked with possible moves to Mercedes and Red Bull with his previous deal having been set to expire at the end of 2024

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - FEBRUARY 28: Press Conference.Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday February 28, 2024 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Simon Galloway / LAT Images)
Image: Fernando Alonso has extended his stay with Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso has signed a contract extension to remain with Aston Martin until at least the end of the 2026 Formula 1 season.

The two-time world champion, whose previous deal had been set to expire at the end of this season, had been linked with a move away from the team.

The 42-year-old Spaniard is the oldest driver on the grid and will turn 45 during the 2026 season, which would make him the first driver to compete in Formula 1 at that age since Graham Hill in 1975.

"It was easy," Alonso said after Aston Martin announced the deal on Thursday. "It didn't change much from when we spoke in February at the car launch.

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Alonso showed incredible skill to pip Sergio Perez to the podium at last year's Sao Paulo GP

"I needed a few races or a few weeks to really think about myself, if I was ready to commit for more years in Formula 1, because the calendar is a little bit more intense now, the cars as well, the commitments.

"My love for Formula 1 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 Formula 1 takes all your time, all your energy - you have to give up basically everything in life to keep racing. And I wanted just to speak with myself [to see] if I was ready to do so.

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"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 will be my first priority. And it was not too difficult."

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Alonso told Sky Sports F1 his drive in last weekend's Japanese GP was one of the best of his career.

Alonso said that his latest deal will extend beyond his driving career and is a "lifetime project".

"This is the longest contract I ever signed in my career," he added. "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 of experience in F1, plus another 10 or 15 outside of F1, so nearly 40 years motorsport experience to the benefit of a team that gave me this opportunity now at this moment in my career."

Alonso: Talks with other teams were 'light' conversations

Alonso, whose drivers' titles came in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, had been seen as a candidate to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and also for a potential vacancy at Red Bull if Sergio Perez were to be let go at the end of the season.

He confirmed he had held talks with other teams, but said they never progressed beyond "light" discussions.

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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Karun Chandhok breaks down Alonso's 'outstanding 2023 season'

"I did speak with other people as well," Alonso said. "It's normal when you enter negotiations that you need to balance a little bit what is the market, you need to listen to everyone as well because it's just a normal procedure and I think it's fair as well to listen to all the proposals and see how the market moves.

"But, in my head, Aston was the logical thing for me to do. And at the end it was also the best and I felt the most wanted at Aston Martin. All the other conversations were just light and never came into any conclusions or something like that. Maybe more time was needed, all these kind of things.

"While in Aston it was a clear desire to work together, which was the same that I had. So that's why it came very easy."

'I wanted to express loyalty'

Alonso joined Aston Martin from Alpine at the start of the 2023 season and spearheaded a stunning start to the campaign as he claimed six podiums in the opening eight races.

While Aston Martin were unable to maintain that form during the second half of the season, the team's highly-ambitious owner Lawrence Stroll remains committed to transforming the team into a title challenger.

"I think we both wanted the same," Alonso added. "I wanted to keep racing with Aston Martin. Aston Martin wanted also to keep me in the seat. When two parties want something, at one point you reach an agreement.

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Alonso featured in the best overtakes from the 2023 Formula 1 season

"So I'm extremely excited to keep racing and to keep racing with this team, which I feel at home. It was also a sense of loyalty that I wanted to express to my team. One year and a half ago we started together, and we achieved so many things, some of them probably unprecedented in F1 to reach so many highs in such a short period of time.

"I felt this is just the beginning of the journey. It could not be the end of the journey for me and Aston Martin. It feels that it was my natural decision to make to keep racing, and to keep racing with Aston Martin was very easy."

Aston Martin have signed a deal to have their engines supplied by Honda when new regulations are introduced to the sport in 2026, with the Japanese manufacturer having powered Red Bull's title-winning cars for the previous two seasons.

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said: "Securing Fernando's long-term future with Aston Martin is fantastic news. We have built a strong working relationship over the last 18 months and we share the same determination to see this project succeed.

"We have been in constant dialogue over the last few months and Fernando has been true to his word: when he decided he wanted to continue racing, he talked to us first. Fernando has shown he believes in us, and we believe in him.

"Fernando is hungry for success, driving better than ever, is fitter than ever, and is completely dedicated to making Aston Martin a competitive force.

"This multi-year agreement with Fernando takes us into 2026 when we begin our works power unit partnership with Honda. We look forward to creating more incredible memories and achieving further success together."

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