Ex-Renault figurehead highlights glaring ‘problem’ with Fernando Alonso to Mercedes

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso arrives in Bahrain.

2024 represents the 21st full season in which Fernando Alonso will take part in Formula 1.

Pat Symonds has said, while he would sign Fernando Alonso for Mercedes if he was in Toto Wolff’s position, he admitted that would open up a “problem” of what would happen regarding his successor.

Symonds was at the heart of Alonso’s title-winning years at Renault as executive director of engineering and has seen how he operates up close, and has no doubt about his ability, but believes signing the two-time World Champion would present an issue regarding a succession plan.

Pat Symonds on Fernando Alonso to Mercedes: ‘He’s your man’

Alonso himself has said he is going to take time to decide whether or not he wants to continue in Formula 1 beyond the end of this season, with Mercedes and Red Bull having an uncontracted seat at the end of the season at time of writing.

Toto Wolff has named the Spaniard as one of the candidates to replace the outgoing Lewis Hamilton at the end of the year, even though he is going to wait on Max Verstappen’s decision about staying with Red Bull first and foremost.

But should the 42-year-old make the switch to Mercedes for next season, with George Russell also out of contract at the end of 2025, Symonds believes Wolff would have to sign the current Aston Martin driver with a potential replacement already in mind.

When asked on the Beyond the Grid podcast if, put in Wolff’s shoes, he would sign Alonso alongside George Russell for a year or two, Symonds replied with a simple, unequivocal: “Yep.”

He then added: “I really rate the guy. I think he’s incredibly fast. So if I was looking for what’s the best result I could get in 2025, who do I need to help me with my brand new 2026 car to a totally new set of regulations? Fernando’s your man.

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“However, then you’re left with a problem, aren’t you? You’re left with the problem of George, who’s been there a few years and thinking of where do I go next?

“Fernando, who probably at that point says, ‘Yeah, okay, I’ve proven it. It’s time to move on.’

“People always underestimate the value of continuity. Continuity in a team is so important, when the engineers and the drivers and everyone are working together, and to ensure you’ve got continuity, you really need to make sure you stagger your drivers.

“You need to make sure that you’ve got a good succession planning in your engineers and things like this.

“So, I think if I was Toto, I would do it, but I’d be thinking ‘Okay, well, what’s my next move?’ Because you’ve got to look further down the line.”

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