Mark Webber has suggested that he wouldn’t be surprised if Fernando Alonso continued to race in Formula 1 beyond his current contract.
Alonso joined Aston Martin for the 2023 campaign on a “multi-year deal”, which is believed to have an expiration date set for the end of the 2024 season.
The Spaniard enjoyed a dream debut last time out in Bahrain, crossing the line in third place to take his 99th career podium finish.
Alonso is the most experienced driver in F1 history, entering his first race at the start of the 2001 campaign.
Webber, who retired from F1 10 years ago, believes that Alonso could continue in the sport beyond his current deal.
“I think when you get older, we all mature in different ways, and we have different priorities in our lives,” Webber told the Spanish version of Motorsport.com.
“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.”
Alonso is the oldest driver on the grid at 41, but is still competing at a high level.
His performance at the season-opening race in Bahrain reaffirmed that – but Webber says that Alonso didn’t need the result to prove he can still perform.
“It’s not that we needed confirmation of his talent,” Webber said. “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.”
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