Fernando Alonso to stay at Aston Martin until 2025

Fernando Alonso has signed with Aston Martin for the 2023 season, and is set to stay there until the end of 2025.

1996 world champion Damon Hill is amazed at Fernando Alonso’s ability to continue performing at the very highest athletic level even at his age.

Alonso returned with Alpine last season after two years away having left McLaren at the end of the 2018 season.

In his first spell in the pinnacle of motorsport, the Spaniard had achieved 32 race wins, 97 podiums and, most importantly of all, two world championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Now 41, Alonso scored his 98th career podium in Qatar last season, and might easily have added more to his tally had it not been for various moments of ill fortune so far in 2022.

READ: Lewis Hamilton on Sebastian Vettel’s retirement: ‘You can never say never’

As it is, Alonso has scored points in nine of the opening 13 rounds of this year, climbing up to 10th in the championship after several rounds of reliability issues, incidents with other drivers and Safety Cars had denied him valuable points.

His performances have been such that there was plenty of intrigue as to why he had not been given an extension on his deal that expires at the end of this season.

As it turns out, the Spaniard was asking for a longer deal but, due to his age, this was something Alpine were not able to give him.

Therefore, he has turned to Aston Martin, and he has signed with Lawrence Stroll’s team for the next three years, meaning he will be 44 by the time that contract is up.

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If he has the talent, Hill sees no reason why the Spaniard cannot keep going into his mid-forties.

“Fernando is firing on all cylinders, and looking very strong and incredible,” he told the F1 Nation Podcast.

“And of course, remember that [Juan Manuel] Fangio, he didn’t start in Formula 1 until he was 38 and he went on until he was way into his mid-40s at a time when it was extremely dangerous.

“So, he must have had nerves of steel and incredible skill, which is the same as Fernando Alonso. 

“I think it’s down to whether you love it or not, if you’ve got enough energy, and you keep yourself in good shape, then why not? Why not keep going?

“I’m going to pick a number, when is he going to retire? I think he will retire when he’s 44.”

Due to previous experience of seeing his father, and also world champion, Graham face criticism due to his age, Hill always had a perception that drivers should stop just before they get to the 40 mark.

Alonso, still one of the best on the grid at 41, is changing the norms of Formula 1, but the Briton felt a little out of place in 1999.

“I retired when I [had] just turned 39, I always had it in my mind that racing drivers should stop before they’re 40,” explained Hill, now 61.

“I think possibly because my dad kept racing until he was 45 and I remember journalists saying ‘he really ought to stop now, it’s all looking a bit sad and long in the tooth’.

“So, I think that might have registered with me as a kind of negative. 

“1999, that’s when I finished racing, but at the beginning of the year, we went to Melbourne and we had our team photographs.

READ: Alpine boss determined to make Fernando Alonso regret his switch to rival team

“I remember standing next to the new drivers who are coming in, I realised they were 20 years younger than me. 

“[It was like being] invited to a party and the kids were 20 years younger than me, I’d feel a little bit uncomfortable.

“So I started to doubt whether or not I should be hanging out with the kids in Formula 1 aged 40, that was one of my ways of dealing with it.”

Alonso’s replace at Alpine is yet to be decided after Oscar Piastri denied he will be racing for them next season.

The Australian is thought to have made a deal with McLaren for 2023, in a move that could very well see Daniel Ricciardo return to Enstone.