Fernando Alonso says the arrival of Honda as a works partner as part of Aston Martin’s ongoing project was key in him signing his longest-ever contract at the age of 42.

Aston Martin announced Alonso will be staying with the team into 2026 – when Honda joins as power unit supplier – on a multi-year deal that will see him racing until he’s at least 45. The Spaniard says the security of being part of the same team into the new power unit regulations was crucial, but also sees himself contributing to the project beyond his racing days.

“It was an important point, I will not lie,” Alonso said. “To commit to a one-year project it didn’t make sense f or me. It’s not that I had one-year proposals elsewhere or anything like that, I was just very clear to Aston in the first conversation that the appealing part of this project is everything that we are building; the new campus last year, the wind tunnel this year, it could be the new regulations in 2026 and Honda coming in as a partner.

“For me that was a must, I think, to really enter new regulations with a new project, with a new wind tunnel and also with Honda as a partner. It was something for me that was very, very important.

“Part of the decision to stay at Aston is because they are with Honda for 2026, with Aramco the biggest and best partner in the world. We have incredible talented people on the technical side now that will benefit from the new wind tunnel and the new facilities at Silverstone. There were a lot of factors that made 2026 very appealing with Aston.

“That was a theme but its not only 2026, it is a lifetime project for me in a way – this is the longest contract I’ve ever signed in my career. This is something that will keep me linked with Aston for many, many years to come –  let’s see which role; how many more years I will drive.

“Even after driving I will use 25+ years experience in F1 plus 10 or 15 outside F1 – so nearly 40 years of motorsport experience – to the benefit of a team that gave me this opportunity now in this moment of my career. So this is also very appealing for me and I am extremely motivated for the next years to come.”

Alonso – who admits he held initial talks with other teams but never seriously entertained a move elsewhere – says he will definitely drive for the next two seasons as part of his new contract, but is confident he and Aston Martin can collaboratively decide when he reaches the stage that he should stop racing.

“I will drive for sure, let’s say… I think it’s difficult to really comment on it because I cannot predict when I will stop racing, or when I will grow tired of racing. For sure, it’s not going to happen in ’25 or ’26 because, as I said, I confirm that one of the motivations was to enter the new regulations and to work with Honda.

“But I don’t know , let’s put it like that. At least two more years. But then I will not go into the specifics of how many years but it’s a lot of years to come with Aston and to make some progress in other areas. And when I’m racing, I will do my best to win with this team and to be competitive, but I will feel the same if we can achieve some great things and success even when I’m not driving, and I can support the team to achieve great things, even in a different role.”