Apr.6 - Fernando Alonso seems to be inching towards a new deal to remain at Aston Martin beyond 2024.

Recently, the Spaniard and two-time champion has been riding the wave of a renewed show of form - to the point that he was being linked with sensation moves to Mercedes or even Red Bull.

However, Alonso acknowledged at Suzuka that he thinks his best chance of ending up at Red Bull next year - namely, that Max Verstappen departs - was effectively "zero".

Even Verstappen is now stating openly that it would be "strange" if Red Bull signed Alonso.

"I don't care who sits next to me and I've said that to the team," he told De Limburger newspaper. "I always believe in myself and in my opinion I am the boss of everyone.

"But if you ask me, I would find it strange to sign a 42-year-old driver," Verstappen, 26, stated at Suzuka. "Red Bull has always had the tradition of training young drivers itself.

"The signing of Sergio (Perez) was a departure from that trend. It's not that I can't get along with Fernando - that's not it. But I also look at the future of the team.

"Ultimately it is up to them to determine who drives where."

In reality, Alonso's goal is not a particular top team - but winning races and titles again. And he now sounds increasingly convinced that Aston Martin can deliver that for him.

"There is no other team in the pitlane that has such ambitious plans as us," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "Today, twice as many people work for the team than at the beginning.

"Since last summer, we have been working in our new, ultra-modern factory," Alonso added. "The wind tunnel and simulator will be ready by the end of the year.

"We are now in the middle of the upgrade race, where last year, we hardly took part in that at all. These are all good signs and an important step towards becoming a winning team.

"And that's why I will speak to Aston Martin first if I decide to continue."

At any rate, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Italia in Japan that he is "100 percent" sure Verstappen will stay in 2025 and beyond.

As for Perez's cockpit: "He has started the season well. His contract expires at the end of the year and it's up to him to keep or lose that seat."

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