Fernando Alonso has weighed in on his long-time rival Lewis Hamilton’s latest contract extension with the Spaniard adamant that age shouldn’t matter, only lap time.
After months of haggling, Hamilton and Mercedes finally agreed on the finer points in a new contract that will keep the Briton at Mercedes until the end of the 2025 season.
Said to have agreed a £50m per season deal, Hamilton will not only make history with a new record for the most consecutive seasons at the same Formula 1 team but he’ll also have two more opportunities to chase that elusive eighth World title.
‘I’d stay with Lewis Hamilton until he’s 80 years old’
Denied that in 2021, Hamilton has had to watch as Max Verstappen has gone on to dominate Formula 1 with the Red Bull driver well on his way to a third successive World title this season.
While Verstappen has romped from one race win to another, Hamilton hasn’t won a grand prix since the penultimate round of the 2021 season.
Alonso, though, believes his 2007 teammate has lost none of his speed.
“I think they [Mercedes] chose time, as has always been chosen in motorsport,” Mundo Deportivo quotes him as having said. “I have never seen any rally, MotoGP or F1 team choose the slowest between two drivers.
“If I were a team boss now and I had to choose Hamilton or the youngest on the grid or a promising F2 driver, I’d stay with Hamilton until he’s 80 years old or until someone shows me that he’s faster than Hamilton.
“Until now, no one has shown it to me so far.
“Age can sometimes be a problem with demotivation, or you see that you are no longer at 100% of your performance – or your focus and your concerns are other than F1. Something like that can happen with age and because of the life we have.
“But in the case of Hamilton, who continues to perform at 100% and his concern is F1 – like in my case – it isn’t a problem.”
He added: “When someone faster comes, we’ll talk, but at the moment Hamilton is faster than anyone.”
Although Hamilton has committed to Mercedes for two years and will be a few months shy of his 41st birthday at the end of the contract, Alonso hopes he’ll again extend his stay as having him on the grid “benefits” Formula 1.
“I think that shows his commitment, his love for for racing,” he told the media including PlanetF1.com.
“It’s good to have him two more years. I think he’s one of the greatest of the sport, as long as he is still in Formula 1 I think it’s a benefit for the sport in general, for F1.
“I hope he stays more than two years.”