Fernando Alonso contract signed as Mercedes make Lewis Hamilton discovery – F1 news round-up

Oliver Harden
Fernando Alonso roars on the podium with prominent logos of Aston Martin, Mercedes and Red Bull alongside him

Aston Martin have seen off Mercedes and Red Bull to secure Fernando Alonso's signature

Only one place to start with Thursday’s F1 news roundup: Fernando Alonso has ended speculation that he could replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for 2025 by signing a new contact with Aston Martin.

No time to waste here, so let’s get straight into the details…

Aston Martin confirmed new Fernando Alonso contract signed

Fernando Alonso has committed his F1 future to Aston Martin by signing a new multi-year contact with the team, which will see him remain with the team until at least 2026.

With his previous deal due to expire at the end of this season, Alonso had found himself linked with the likes of Mercedes, as a potential replacement for Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton, and Red Bull, if the unthinkable happened and Max Verstappen left the team.

Yet Alonso is to remain with his current team, booking himself in for a reunion with his old friends Honda in 2026…

Read more: Fernando Alonso confirms F1 future decision after Mercedes and Red Bull rumours

Mercedes reveal Lewis Hamilton Japanese GP issue

Mercedes have confirmed that front wing endplate damage contributed to Lewis Hamilton’s miserable Japanese Grand Prix, exacerbating his struggles with understeer.

Hamilton claimed to have made a breakthrough with the W15 car after qualifying seventh at Suzuka, but was spiky – snapping at a reporter at one stage – after fading to ninth on race day.

The seven-time World Champion complained of “huge understeer” during the first stint, with Mercedes clearing up the reason for Hamilton’s woes – and the incident that resulted in the damage.

Read more: Mercedes reveal fresh Lewis Hamilton evidence contributing to Suzuka struggles

Uncovered: George Russell engineer’s cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso

An untelevised snippet of team radio has revealed the moment George Russell’s race engineer aimed a cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso and Russell have established something of a rivalry in recent weeks after the Aston Martin driver was hit with a 20-second time penalty for “potentially dangerous driving” in defence against Russell in the closing laps of the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was at it again with the defensive tricks at Suzuka, with his clever use of DRS catching the attention of Russell’s race engineer…

Read more: Untelevised team radio reveals cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso from George Russell’s engineer

Red Bull urged to drop Sergio Perez for Carlos Sainz

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has urged Red Bull to drop Sergio Perez for Carlos Sainz in 2025, claiming Perez’s current pace deficit to Max Verstappen  is “unsustainable.”

Under pressure to earn a contract for next season, Perez has enjoyed a solid start to 2024 by contributing to three Red Bull one-two finishes in the opening four races.

With his pace on a “different planet” to Verstappen, however, Schumacher believes Red Bull can’t miss the chance to bring back Sainz.

Read more: Sergio Perez’s Red Bull future is ‘unsustainable’ with ‘different planets’ verdict issued

Mercedes given big, fat ‘F’ grade after poor start to 2024

Former F1 technical director Gary Anderson has given Mercedes a big, fat ‘F’ grade for the team’s poor start to the F1 2024 season.

Mercedes had aimed to return to race-winning contention with the new W15 car, but are still awaiting a first podium finish with Hamilton suffering his worst-ever start to an F1 season.

Likening the team to a yo-yo, Anderson has not held back in his criticism of Mercedes.

Read more: F1 2024 teams ranked: Brutal F grade issued to Mercedes and two other poor performers