Fernando Alonso knows the moment it will be ‘bye bye’ from F1 for good

Oliver Harden
A side-profile shot of Fernando Alonso on the grid in Canada

Fernando Alonso will be 45 by the end of his current Aston Martin contract in F1 2026

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso has admitted the time will “soon” come when he must retire from F1 for good, conceding that he does not know what he will do after he walks away.

Alonso, who will turn 43 next month, is by far the most experienced driver on the F1 2024 grid having made his debut with Minardi at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso admits F1 retirement coming ‘soon’

The two-time World Champion left the sport at the end of 2018 after a punishing spell with McLaren, but returned with the Alpine team in 2021 before moving to Aston Martin at the beginning of last season.

After registering eight podiums in F1 2023, Aston Martin announced in April that Alonso will remain with the team until at least the end of the F1 2026 season – by which time he will be 45 – having agreed a new contract with the Silverstone-based team.

Alonso’s extension will see him reunited with Honda, the engine manufacturer with whom he had an uneasy relationship at McLaren between 2015-17, who will become Aston Martin’s technical partner in time for the F1 2026 rule changes.

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Despite officially withdrawing from the sport at the end of F1 2021, Honda have continued to offer technical support to World Champions Red Bull with Max Verstappen claiming his 50th victory in the last 75 races at last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Speaking to the Times, Alonso – who twice won the historic Le Mans 24 Hours race, as well as participating in the Indianapolis 500 and Dakar Rally, during his two-year sabbatical – has revealed he is mindful that the end of his F1 career is nearing.

And he has revealed plans to change how he approaches racing to prevent F1 from “taking away everything” that makes him happy.

He said: “I know that it will soon arrive again, the moment that I will 100 per cent say ‘bye bye’ to F1 and I don’t know exactly what I will do.”

“It’s something strange because we are privileged people, only 20 in the world driving Formula 1 cars, so it’s logical that you think you will love to do this as long as you are fast and you are happy.

“But at the same time, it’s taking away everything in your life that makes you happy.

“Some adjustments will be done, with my family coming to more races and this type of thing, to try and have fewer downsides.”

Despite his recent success, Verstappen, 26, has frequently claimed over the last 12 months that he could retire from F1 sooner than many assume.

Alonso has admitted he felt the same way at Verstappen’s age, revealing he assumed his deal to join McLaren in 2007 would prove to be his final F1 contract.

He explained: “That’s what I was thinking when I was at Max’s age.“

“I remember it was back in 2007, I signed a contract with McLaren for three years after being World Champion with Renault and I was 200 per cent sure that it was my last contract.

“[Then] I thought that it was my last season in 2018 and I said ‘bye bye’ to F1, thinking that it was enough for my career.

“I found, even when I decided to stop, I couldn’t.”

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