Fernando Alonso on replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes: I am an attractive option

Spanish driver, currently at Aston Martin, 'will see that the options are' ahead of deciding which team he will be with for 2025 season

Fernando Alonso scored 206 points for Aston Martin last season finishing fourth in the drivers' championship. EPA
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Fernando Alonso has spoken for the first time about the possibility of replacing Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes and admitted that his contract situation makes him an “attractive” option.

Hamilton surprised the Formula One world when he announced on February 1 that he will be leaving the Silver Arrows to join the Italian outfit for the 2025 season.

The Briton's exit from Mercedes, where he won six of his seven world titles, means there will be a spot opening up to become George Russell's teammate at the end of this season.

And two-time champion Alonso's name was immediately linked with a move to replace Hamilton boosted by the fact he was one of the few top drivers whose 2025 contract was not signed and sealed.

The 42-year-old spent a fractious spell with the German manufacturer when he was teammates with Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes in 2007.

But Alonso clearly feels he is in a strong negotiating position although he also insisted that his “first priority” will be speaking with current team Aston Martin about staying on.

“I am aware of my situation, which is very unique,” said Alonso at the launch of Aston Martin's 2024 car at Silverstone. “There are only three world champions on the grid [Alonso, Hamilton and Max Verstappen] and I am the only one available for 2025, so I am in a good position.

“On a move to Mercedes, there has been nothing at all. I know the driver market has started earlier this year, but this will not affect me in terms of preparing for the season.

“If I want to keep racing beyond this year, the first and only talk at the beginning will be Aston Martin. I trust this project and that will be my first priority.

“But if we cannot reach an agreement I know that I am attractive to other teams. I will not stay in Formula One just to have fun. I am not that kind of person and not that kind of driver. Let’s see what the options are.”

Alonso drove for the Italian team between 2010 and 2014 but fell short of winning the title and admitted Hamilton switch came out of the blue.

“It was a surprise, I will not lie, not because [of] the change itself but from the outside it seemed like he was very linked to Mercedes and very loyal to Mercedes.

“Ferrari is a special team but it is more special when you win. Maybe Lewis can bring that extra fight for the championship because the car is there.

“Even last year, with a very dominant Red Bull car, Ferrari were able to match the lap time and be faster than them in most of the qualifyings, so the car should be fast enough."

Alonso finished fourth in last year’s drivers’ championship with 206 points – behind only Red Bull duo Verstappen and Sergio Perez, plus Hamilton in third – as his Aston Martin transformed from also-rans to front-runners.

He scored six podiums in the opening eight rounds and might have ended his 10-year wait for victory had his team’s strategy been more on point at the rain-hit Monaco Grand Prix.

The team’s form fell away in the second half of the year but Alonso continued to outperform his machinery, taking further podiums in the Netherlands and Brazil.

He ended the year 132 points and six places ahead of teammate Lance Stroll – son of the team’s fashion billionaire owner Lawrence Stroll – and was voted third, behind Verstappen and Hamilton, by his fellow drivers and finished runner-up to the Dutchman in a poll of the grid’s team bosses.

Hamilton at Mercedes – in pictures

Updated: February 12, 2024, 1:14 PM