Alonso promises quick decision on F1 future amid Merc rumours

Fernando Alonso has committed not to keep Aston Martin in suspense for too long as he contemplates and negotiates his forthcoming steps in Formula 1. The two-time world champion, now 42, is under consideration to fill the potential vacancy at Mercedes next year, particularly as the team may seek an interim solution while nurturing the talents of 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli.

However, Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, regards Max Verstappen as his prime candidate to succeed Lewis Hamilton, following a renewed camaraderie with Verstappen’s father, Jos. Wolff shared with Osterreich newspaper, “Jos and I were born in the same year and we have had a good relationship for many years. Every team would love to get Max because he is the strongest driver, so it’s just logical. But as I’ve also said, a driver will always try to sit in the best car. That’s why we have to do our homework so that the car performs and Mercedes becomes a real alternative for Max.”

Considering the current landscape, Wolff might lean towards Nico Hulkenberg as a viable short-term option. Hulkenberg, reintroduced to Formula 1 by former Haas boss Gunther Steiner, received commendation from Steiner himself, who told RTL, “If I were team boss at Mercedes, I wouldn’t say no to Nico. When you see what he has managed to do again, it is very cool. He was often underestimated and usually in the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe now he’ll be in the right place at the right time.”

Alonso, for his part, seems open to leaving the mid-field performance of Aston Martin for a potential opportunity with Mercedes next year. His manager, Flavio Briatore, was recently seen meeting with Wolff in Monaco, sparking further speculation. Alonso, who has not dismissed the possibility of retirement, expressed his intention to make a timely decision, stating, “It wouldn’t be fair for me to delay it too much, for the sake of the team and its options.”

Currently, Toto Wolff enjoys the flexibility of not having to make an immediate decision regarding his team’s lineup, thanks to Mercedes’ financial capability in the face of Lewis Hamilton’s exit. This financial flexibility might pave the way for acquiring a talent akin to Max Verstappen’s.

“In every career there are moments when you want or should try something new,” said Wolff. He elaborated on the strategic advantage Mercedes holds in the upcoming contract negotiations. “As it now turns out, that could be a good fit, especially as we – unlike Ferrari and McLaren – have not concluded contracts quite so early.”

Wolff also addressed the perception of Mercedes’ ongoing appeal to top-tier drivers, underscoring the future potential with upcoming regulatory changes. “There will be completely new regulations from 2026, especially when it comes to the engine,” he explained. “This gives us the opportunity to hopefully do as well as we did in 2014.”

He further added, “If you as a driver can be here for that early, that is of course an advantage. But I won’t commit to anything for now and will leave the seat vacant for as long as possible.”

GMM

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