Krack hopes Alonso chooses Aston Martin over Mercedes

Fri, 1 March 2024, 09:00

Mar.1 (GMM) Mike Krack, boss of the Aston Martin team, says he is determined to convince Fernando Alonso to sign another contract for 2025.

Lewis Hamilton stunned the Formula 1 world with his bombshell decision to leave Mercedes mid-contract at the end of this year to join Ferrari.

It is rumoured that the split is not just about the fulfilment of the seven time world champion’s “childhood dream”. It also appears to be because 39-year-old Hamilton is reacting to the obvious grooming of his eventual successor – 17-year-old Kimi Antonelli, a new protege of team boss Toto Wolff’s.

Wolff’s original plan was for an extensive test program for Antonelli later this year in a 2-year-old Mercedes – which can only begin in August, when he turns 18.

That will still happen, but it appears that Wolff actually only wanted to promote him for 2026 – when the two-year contract signed mid-last season by Hamilton was set to expire.

Now, Wolff is weighing up whether Antonelli, who has skipped F3 this year to leap straight into Formula 2, “is ready for 2025 or for 2026”.

“Or will there be a different situation?” the Mercedes team boss and co-owner said in Bahrain.

“The pilot market is currently incredibly interesting, because for 2025 there are really strong people available.”

Alonso is 42-years-old, so he might be the perfect candidate for a pre-Antonelli stop-gap solution for Mercedes next year. Another stop-gap might be Mercedes’ current reserve Mick Schumacher.

“If I had the choice between an Alonso and a Mick Schumacher, I can’t take Mick,” declared former F1 driver Christian Danner, in conversation with Kolner Express newspaper.

“Alonso is better in every respect.”

However, Danner also admitting that the driver market ‘silly season’ is notoriously hard to predict.

“Toto Wolff can now look at everything in peace and then choose the driver he thinks is most suitable at the end of the season,” he said.

“Whether it’s Hulkenberg, because he’s performing particularly well, or Piastri, or maybe Norris, or even Verstappen because something is happening at Red Bull, it’s currently impossible to predict,” Danner added.

“Either way, it would certainly be wrong for Mercedes to commit in any way at this point in time.”

Danner thinks Alonso is a clear candidate, and so too does fellow former F1 driver Timo Glock.

He told Speed Week: “Alonso could be the perfect interim solution if he only wants to drive for another year or two, but in a top team. Then the Spaniard could end his career on a high.”

The lure of a Mercedes seat may ultimately entice Alonso, ramping up the pressure on his current team – Aston Martin.

“I am also a fan of Formula 1,” Aston Martin boss Krack said in Bahrain, “and Lewis’ move causes a very lively reaction from all of us.

“Of course, this was discussed a lot a few weeks ago, but clearly it’s time to ask other questions now,” he smiled.

“First of all, Fernando needs to decide whether he wants to continue his career or not – he’s made this clear. But if he wants to, then I hope that we will be in pole position.

“My task is to try to maintain the current lineup, and I definitely hope that Alonso will stay with the team. It’s an interesting question, but I think like this: because Fernando is Fernando, we can be sure that he will give his best until the last lap of his Formula 1 career, regardless of which team he drives for.

“At the moment that is very useful for us here at Aston Martin,” Krack added.

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