Fernando Alonso “would probably take” a short-term contract to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the F1 2025 season.
That is the view of F1 analyst Peter Windsor, who believes Mercedes will only turn to Alonso if they struggle in 2024 – unless the Daimler board insist on the signing of a World Champion to replace Hamilton.
Hamilton rocked the F1 world earlier this month by announcing that he will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024 season, bringing an end to the most successful team-driver partnership in the sport’s history.
Fernando Alonso to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes?
With Alonso’s current contract with Aston Martin is due to expire at the end of this season, team principal Mike Krack told media including PlanetF1.com of his intention to offer the 42-year-old a new multi-year deal at the launch of the new AMR24 car on Monday.
Alonso himself claimed extending his stay with Aston Martin is his “priority” as things stand – but teased that he is in a “very unique” negotiating position as the only World Champion available for 2024, with Hamilton and Max Verstappen committed to Ferrari and Red Bull respectively.
Alonso’s long-term friend, manager and former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore then posted a photograph to Instagram of himself having breakfast in Monaco with Toto Wolff just hours after Aston Martin’s 2024 car launch, sending the rumour mill into overdrive.
Speaking via a recent YouTube stream, 1992 title-winning Williams team manager Windsor doubted whether Mercedes would bow to Alonso’s likely demands of a long-term contract – but claimed Alonso would “probably” jump at the chance to join Mercedes if even for just one season.
He said: “Would Mercedes sign the long-term deal that Fernando would presumably want?
“But having said that, if Mercedes rang up Fernando and said: ‘Look, we’re only going to offer you a one-year deal with an option on our side, but you’ve got the Mercedes race seat alongside George Russell if you want it for one year, hopefully two – do you want it or not?’
“I think Fernando would probably take it, actually.
“It depends how he goes in the Aston Martin. Nobody’s talking about Aston [but] they may be up there with Mercedes this year; maybe better than Mercedes.”
With Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli, 17, rumoured to be the team’s preferred option to replace Hamilton, Windsor feels the Silver Arrows will only turn to Alonso if their on-track woes persist in 2024 – unless Wolff is ordered to sign a World Champion to replace Hamilton.
Mercedes have employed at least one World Champion since returning to F1 in 2010, with Hamilton signed to replace Michael Schumacher as Nico Rosberg’s team-mate at the end of 2012.
Windsor said: “It’s an interesting one: get an even older driver [than Hamilton]! Would they do that?
“Red Bull didn’t sign Fernando because they think he’s quite divisive in a team and, yes, he’s probably mellowed a bit. And at Aston Martin, he’s had to toe the line a bit and be nice to Lance [Stroll] and that’s all going quite well.
“He’s obviously still really quick and really good. I suppose it’s possible. Anything’s possible.
“It’s possible that the board at Mercedes are saying to Toto: ‘You’ve got to have an established World Champion driver in the car.’
“Toto is pretty good, I think, at selling what he wants to the sponsors and to the board.
“They seem to be raving about Kimi Antonelli and George could have a very, very good year and that’s where they could be going.
“But if they’re struggling, they might well take Fernando.
“We’ll just have to wait and see on that one. Fernando will be on the phone to Toto, I would imagine.”