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Fernando Alonso says Aston Martin have best 'project' for new F1 regulations in 2026

Fernando Alonso signed a contract extension to remain with Aston Martin until at least the end of the 2026 Formula 1 season; Alonso believes the team are well set for the introduction of new regulations in 2026

Fernando Alonso
Image: Fernando Alonso has extended his Aston Martin contract until the end of 2026

Fernando Alonso says his decision to sign a contract extension with Aston Martin was motivated by his belief that the team have the best "project" for when new Formula 1 regulations are introduced in 2026.

Aston Martin announced on Thursday that Alonso had extended his expiring deal until the end of 2026, ending speculation that he could join rivals Red Bull or Mercedes.

Red Bull have dominated the last two seasons and Max Verstappen is the clear favourite to extend his streak of three successive drivers' titles this year and next, but Alonso appears confident his team can mount a title challenge in 2026.

A significant factor in the Spaniard's positivity is that Aston Martin have secured a deal to have their engines supplied from 2026 onwards by Honda, the Japanese manufacturer currently powering Red Bull.

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Fernando Alonso just pips Sergio Perez to a podium spot at the 2023 Sao Paulo GP.

"I think in 2026 we are going into the unknown, for sure, in terms of regulations," Alonso said.

"But if I had to choose one, my feeling is, I would choose our project and our engine and our power unit.

"One, it's because I think they (Honda) are dominating the sport now, they have a very, very strong engine with Red Bull and RB.

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"And second, because with the new fuels and the new regulations, they will have all the tools available to succeed."

Also giving Alonso confidence is continued investment from team owner Lawrence Stroll, which enabled the team to open a brand-new factory last year, with a state-of-the-art wind tunnel set to be ready for use later this year.

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

"To commit to a one-year project, it didn't make sense for me," he added. "It's not that I had a one-year proposal elsewhere or anything like that, it was just I was very clear to Aston in the first conversations that the appealing part of this project is everything that we are building.

"It was the new campus last year, it's going to be the wind tunnel this year, it's going to be the new regulations in 2026 and Honda coming as a partner.

"And I think that was for me a must, to enter new regulations with a new project, with a new wind tunnel and also with Honda as a partner, it was something for me that it was very important.

"We have incredibly talented people in the team now in the technical side that will benefit from the new wind tunnel and the new facilities in Silverstone, so there were a lot of factors that made 2026 very appealing with Aston."

Alonso wanted to see 'progress' at start of 2024 season

Alonso is the oldest driver on the current F1 grid at the age of 42, and if he completes the 2026 season, will become the first 45-year-old to race in the sport since Graham Hill in 1975.

Given F1's calendar is now more congested than ever, with a record 24 races this season, Alonso said he needed to assess whether he could continue to cope with the challenges of the schedule before making a decision.

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

Having come to that conclusion after last month's Australian Grand Prix, the other main requirement for him was to see that his team were continuing to trend in the right direction.

"I wanted to see how we performed," Alonso explained. "There is no guarantee that if I feel good and I see with Aston that things are not going right, we have a car that is difficult to drive, we are not competitive, I see no progress in the team - I see some negative sides, maybe I look elsewhere."

While Alonso hasn't managed to repeat the flying start he made to 2023, he has scored points at all four races so far, with his best effort a fifth-placed finish in Saudi Arabia.

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Fernando Alonso hits back at George Russell during a discussion on budgets!

"To be honest, we didn't start in the podium positions, but I think we are very close, the top four teams apart from Red Bull," he added.

"There are going to be some races where we are more competitive, some races where we are less. But also in the first four races, we introduced four new parts of the car.

"Every race we had an upgrade, so this is something that was quite encouraging and quite nice to see."

Next up is the return of the Chinese Grand Prix on April 19-21, which is also the first Sprint weekend of the season. You can watch every session live on Sky Sports F1 and steam every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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