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Analysis

The unfinished business behind Alonso's new F1 deal

With his decision to stay at Aston Martin into the 2026 era, Fernando Alonso has given himself one last chance to settle unfinished business in Formula 1.

Given Alonso's impressive longevity and penchant for surprise twists, one can never be too sure about the cunning Spaniard's next move. But F1's longest-serving protagonist has now openly nailed his colours to Aston Martin's mast with a new long-term contract.
His fresh terms include at least a two-year commitment to drive its F1 cars and a deal to move into an as of yet undefined off-track role beyond his F1 driving days, which Alonso describes as a "lifetime project" and the longest contract he ever signed.
It is an intriguing arrangement for a driver who has always looked across the fence at the best possible opportunities elsewhere, with some team switches that didn't always work out in his favour.
But as he approaches 43, his Aston deal may well be his last, and taking his agreement into the 2026 regulations era gives him one final roll of the dice to grab that elusive third world championship - or at least a return to winning ways.
It must be pointed out that his choice to stay put at Aston Martin is not one made amid an embarrassment of riches. There appeared to be some interest from Red Bull, but while the team's management remains embroiled in power struggles and Sergio Perez has appeared to return to form, the Milton Keynes squad was in no hurry to decide.
The signs are increasing that Andrea Kimi Antonelli is destined to be Mercedes' man for the future, so whoever the Silver Arrows sign for 2025 in case the 17-year-old Italian needs more cooking time is appearing to join as a stopgap solution.

Watch: Alonso Commits to Aston Martin with Multi-Year Extension

Those words are anathema to Alonso, whose main drive is to feel important and appreciated, having sought a long-term deal so he can help build towards a 2026 title tilt.
"In my head Aston was the logical thing for me to do," he said. "I felt the most wanted in Aston Martin, all the other conversations were just light.
"I never came into any conclusions and maybe more time was needed or these kinds of things, while at Aston there was a clear desire to do work together, which was the same that I had."
Perhaps there is no place like home for Alonso anyway. In contrast with just two or three years ago, moving from Aston to Mercedes can no longer be seen as a clear-cut upgrade.
Red Bull, then, is working on a hugely ambitious programme to build its own power units for the 2026 regulations, which at this stage seems a more risky bet than siding with the manufacturer they will replace in Honda.
Meanwhile, Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is trying to assemble a squad ready to topple Red Bull, including some of its former engineers. Add brand-new headquarters, a new wind tunnel on the way and the might of fuel supplier Aramco to provide sustainable fuels for 2026, and perhaps Aston was always going to be Alonso's best bet to go out on a high.
"I was very clear to Aston in the first conversations that the appealing part of this project is just everything that we are building," Alonso explained.
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"For me it was a must to enter a new regulations with a new project, and also with Honda as a partner.
"We have incredible, talented people in the team now on 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."
It will not only give Alonso a chance to tie up unfinished business with F1, but also with Honda.
His fractious relationship with the Japanese brand during its three-year plight with McLaren is more than well documented, with his infamous "GP2 engine" comment at Honda's home ground in 2015 a symbolic embarrassment the relationship never recovered from, to the extent that even in 2020 Honda is said to have vetoed Alonso driving one of its engines in the Indy 500.
But as Honda's management teams changed and time passed, that now appears to be water under the bridge, with Honda Racing Corporation president Koji Watanabe saying last year that "if we are to team up with Alonso again, as our driver, we have no objections whatsoever in him driving".
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 Honda

Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-30 Honda

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Just like he received a second chance to make things work with McLaren last decade, Alonso now gets an opportunity to rewrite his Honda history.
Mentioning his one-off Suzuka helmets and the samurai tattoo that adorns his back, Alonso was at pain to point out to the media that he has a strong connection with Japan.
"I have great, great love for Japan. I think the level of discipline and the level of commitment that they have is just on another level, generally in Japan, but it translates to Honda," he said.
"I worked with Toyota as well in the World Endurance Championship and I'm very familiar with that kind of discipline.
"Honda is definitely a manufacturer that has so much success in Formula 1 and in the world of motorsport, that is always a company that I respected.
"It didn't work for us in McLaren in the years that they came to the sport, but right after that they fixed all the problems and they are currently dominating the sport.
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Racing AMR24

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Racing AMR24

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

"I think they will have a baseline for 2026 that is already very strong. We are going into the unknown, for sure, but if I have to choose one by feeling, I will choose our project and our engine and our power unit."
Read Also:
At last month's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Alonso vowed he would take matters into his own hands and not let other players on the 2025 driver market dictate his destiny.
By being the first free agent to put his cards on the table, he has now made good on that promise.
Alonso is coming full circle. By staying where he is.
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

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