Alpine has earmarked Silverstone as the scene of the first talks with Fernando Alonso about potentially extending the 40-year-old’s contract.
The former two-time champion, who returned to Formula 1 last year on a two-year deal following a sabbatical, said recently that he envisages racing on for another few years.
Friend and fellow Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa thinks retirement at the end of 2022 is very unlikely for Alonso.
“I would be very surprised,” he told DAZN.
“He is 40 years old, but physically he is impeccable and he is doing some of his best races. He’s in shape and he’s eager and I can say that 24 hours a day he thinks only of four wheels.
“Fernando still has three or four years in him,” the former F1 driver added.
Whether Alonso will stay at Alpine, however, is another story – as the Renault-owned works team is keen to promote reigning Formula 2 champion Oscar Piastri.
And Alonso has also been frustrated with a series of bad results recently that he does not believe were his fault.
“It’s very frustrating, of course,” team boss Otmar Szafnauer told the Spanish newspaper AS, “but he’s fine and we all want more, both us and Fernando.
“The good thing is that the package works, so you can work hard on the rest.”
According to Szafnauer, the new Renault engine is not the problem, as he acknowledges that while “Ferrari is a bit ahead of everyone”, Alpine is “doing well against Honda and Mercedes”.
As for the car, the Enstone based team is determined to progress.
“Because of porpoising, sometimes we have to compromise low-speed corners to solve high-speed corners,” Szafnauer admitted.
“There are new pieces for Spain, then more pieces two races later, and also in the tenth race. It will be a constant flow of developments.”
As for whether it will all be enough to get Alonso’s signature on a new contract, that will also have to wait until race ten – the British GP.
“We will talk about it from Silverstone,” Szafnauer said.