Fernando Alonso has revealed that how he reacts to Formula 1’s expanded calendar next year could decide how much he wants to continue in the sport, as that is more likely to “drain my battery” than losing pace.
The F1 schedule is expanding to 24 races next year, an all-time record, and while an element of regionalisation is coming into play, the amount of travelling will place a greater demand on everyone in the sport than ever before.
Alonso’s contract with Aston Martin is due to expire next season, but while team principal Mike Krack has made it crystal clear he hopes to extend Alonso’s stay with the team, the two-time World Champion wants to see how the demands of the new calendar take shape.
Fernando Alonso to assess new F1 calendar demands in 2024
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Alonso took a two-year sabbatical away from Formula 1 at the end of 2018 as he explored other series, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and taking part in the Dakar Rally, alongside taking victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
The Spaniard returned to Formula 1 as fast as ever and has consistently batted away questions about his age by showing dominance over team-mate Lance Stroll this season, appearing on the podium eight times in all in 2023.
The 2024 season will end with a triple-header of Las Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, with a huge 18-hour flight required to get between Vegas and Qatar, and the travel demands placed on F1 staff at that stage of the season will be enormous.
Alonso spoke to media including PlanetF1.com shortly after finding out that development on next season’s calendar for himself, having previously thought Las Vegas was a standalone event.
Saying that he feels as fast as he ever has, he thinks the demands placed on him by the calendar could decide whether he looks at calling time on his illustrious career.
“I have said many times, even before 2018, the day that I will stop racing is not because I feel not motivated for driving or I feel slow,” Alonso explained.
“If I feel slow one day, I think it will be noticeable and I will be not happy with my performance and I will be the first one to raise my hand and say ‘okay, this is this is time’.
“But I don’t think that time will arrive, honestly, in terms of feeling slow because I have extreme self-confidence on my performance.
“But it could be that with the calendar and with the mundane schedule that one day, I will feel that it’s time because, you know, there are other things in life.
“It has been a very demanding season only with 22 races with two cancellations, next year with 24, the proper calendar.
“We have to see how it feels. Even Las Vegas, I saw that is a triple header [next season]. I don’t know why I thought that Vegas was alone next year, and then Qatar and Abu Dhabi together. These kinds of things will drain my battery, not driving.”