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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What the Fernando Alonso information means for the remainder of the F1 grid

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One of many greatest dominoes within the upcoming Method 1 driver switch market has fallen.

Now the remainder of the F1 world awaits the fallout.

The information that Fernando Alonso is returning to Aston Martin for 2025 and past, on a brand new “multi-year” deal, matches with the staff’s aggressive method at transferring up the F1 grid. Aston Martin signed Alonso away from Alpine for the 2023 season, and that marketing campaign was their most profitable of their F1 historical past. The staff can be in the midst of a large infrastructure overhaul, a brand new three-building manufacturing unit in Silverstone that features a brand-new wind tunnel.

However the Alonso information has ramifications past Silverstone, and could be the newest saga in what’s shaping as much as be a transformative driver switch season.

In case you missed it, some beautiful information dropped forward of the 2024 F1 season. In fact, that refers back to the stunning announcement that Lewis Hamilton could be leaving Mercedes following the 2024 marketing campaign, making the transfer to Ferrari for the 2025 season and past.

Not solely did that open up probably the most coveted spots within the sport — a seat at Mercedes alongside George Russell — however it left Carlos Sainz Jr. searching for a experience of his personal for subsequent season.

How did Sainz reply to the information? By demonstrating that maybe the one factor holding him again may be his appendix. After delivering a podium end within the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Sainz missed the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as a consequence of an emergency appendectomy.

He got here again to the grid for the Australian Grand Prix, scoring his second win in as many seasons. Then got here Suzuka, and whereas Sainz couldn’t rating back-to-back wins, he notched his third podium in as many races with a third-place end.

Because the grid is ready to return to China for the primary time since 2019, Sainz sits fourth within the Drivers’ Championship.

And stays and not using a seat for 2025.

The ripple results of Alonso re-signing with Aston Martin for 2025 might drift out in direction of Alonso. Aston Martin bringing again Alonso for 2025 and past eliminates a possible touchdown spot for Sainz, and given the actual fact Lance Stroll is probably going going to carry onto that second spot at Aston Martin — absent a shock transfer for a driver like Verstappen — Sainz might want to look elsewhere.

In fact, that elsewhere could possibly be Mercedes. Though if latest studies are to believed, Toto Wolff has his eyes on one other value, which is Verstappen himself. Whether or not Verstappen would make such a stunning transfer to Mercedes stays to be seen, however latest reporting from German outlet AMS holds that the Silver Arrows have already signed off internally on the wage it will take to poach the three-time champion.

Then there’s Sauber. The group is ready to develop into the Audi works staff for the 2026 season, and even earlier than the Hamilton information there have been studies linking Sainz to Sauber/Audi, given the truth that his father is a rally driver within the Audi fold — and gained the Dakar Rally again in January.

As soon as the Hamilton information got here down, these studies picked up steam.

Curiously sufficient F1TV analyst Lawrence Barretto floated an alternative choice for Sainz on Thursday following the Alonso information.

Williams.

Williams is a really intriguing notion, given the opposite transferring components on the grid. The staff has Alexander Albon beneath contract by way of at the least 2025, and absent Albon making a giant transfer in all chance he can be again within the fold subsequent 12 months at Williams. Logan Sargeant at the moment holds the seat subsequent to Albon, and Group Principal James Vowles seemingly views Sargeant taking a giant step ahead on the observe this 12 months as a most well-liked choice for 2025. We will name that their Plan A.

However what in the event that they want a Plan B?

That choice for Williams may be Andrea Kimi Antonelli. The 17-year-old phenom is set to get his first crack at an F1 automotive subsequent week, as he’ll get behind the wheel of Mercedes’ W12, their 2021 season challenger, in Austria.

Mercedes may view Antonelli as their long-term choice for Hamilton’s seat, however anticipating the wunderkind to make the leap into F1 after only one season in F2 — and right into a Mercedes at this — may be asking an excessive amount of. So Antonelli could possibly be an choice at Williams, much like the trail George Russell and different drivers within the Mercedes program have taken.

Which might shut one other door on Sainz.

Now possibly Williams is viewing Sainz as their Plan B. Barretto is definitely extraordinarily plugged into the F1 world, and if one thing is being mentioned across the paddock, it’s more likely to land on his radar, or maybe his cellphone to be extra correct. Linking Sainz to Williams is definitely an fascinating improvement, though one would assume the extra seemingly transfer could be Sainz to Mercedes, and Antonelli to Williams in the intervening time.

Nonetheless, one would assume {that a} driver of his caliber — and with the beginning he has had — would don’t have any drawback discovering a spot for subsequent 12 months. Perhaps, as Barretto floats, a return for Sainz to Crimson Bull could possibly be within the works. That after all would require Crimson Bull to determine to maneuver on from Sergio Pérez, who’s off to a robust begin of his personal and seeing reward are available from Dr. Helmut Marko, a vital voice within the Crimson Bull steady. So maybe Crimson Bull stays pat as nicely, forging into 2025 and even past with their present Verstappen/Pérez pairing.

Once more, main us again to Sauber/Audi as an choice for Sainz.

Many twists and turns lie forward within the ongoing sport of driver motion.

However Alonso’s resolution on Thursday is simply the newest transfer that has rippling results all through the game.



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