Mark Webber: ‘Never rule out’ Fernando Alonso racing beyond current Aston deal

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, is happy. Bahrain, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, happy in the paddock. Bahrain, March 2023.

Mark Webber has backed Fernando Alonso to extend his stint in Formula 1 after his current deal with Aston Martin ends.

Alonso swapped Alpine for Aston Martin this year with the Silverstone team giving him the two-year deal he wanted. While it is assumed by many that this will be the Spaniard’s last contract in Formula 1, his performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix suggests he has lost little of the talent and speed that earned him two World Championships.

The former Ferrari man is already the most experienced driver in the history of Formula 1, moving past Kimi Raikkonen’s record last year, and while he is still some way off the record of 55 years, 292 days set by Louis Chiron in 1955 as the oldest driver to start an F1 race, Alonso’s longevity in the sport continues to amaze.

Webber, who last raced in Formula 1 in 2013 having made his debut a year after Alonso, said he is not ruling out the Aston Martin driver signing an extension.

“I think when you get older, we all mature in different ways, and we have different priorities in our lives,” Webber told the Spanish edition of “He’s been in this paddock for 20 years. Naturally, it’s different from when it arrived.

“That’s obvious, but the instinct and the driver, it’s all still there. I think, the traits are there, everything that characterises him is still there, he’s a competitor, he wants to fight people, in a really tenacious and self-rewarding way, and that will never leave Fernando.

“He has the opportunity to stay longer than these two years, of course. Never rule out that Fernando runs until he is 44 years old.”

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Although he put in some good performances with Alpine, the Bahrain podium was a statement race from both Alonso and Aston Martin, suggesting they will be competing at a much higher level this year than their P7 of 2022.

“It’s not that we needed confirmation of his talent,” Webber said of Alonso. “It’s not in doubt, but now he can enjoy leading a team into the next big phase of his career, he’s going to be very motivated, it’s incredible.

“It depends, of course, on whether Red Bull has phenomenal reliability, if they do then their victories are assured but he can get a win one day, I’m sure he can get something.

“The podium is absolutely special, but we can’t forget that Red Bull were fully on cruise control, they were doing it very slowly, so they are in impressive form.

“Let’s see how the Aston Martin fares on tracks where degradation is minor, but [I’m] very, very happy for him and for the team, they deserve the result.”