until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Alonso’s verdict as big Aston Martin performance step validated

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Fernando Alonso continues to downplay Aston Martin’s prospects for the Formula 1 season opener despite the team confirming a big performance step over winter by topping Friday practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin emerged as a potential threat to the established big three F1 teams in pre-season testing and translated that into a strong start in Bahrain as Alonso set the fastest time in FP2.

Two-time world champion Alonso, who left Alpine to join Aston Martin for this season, called it “another step in the right direction”.

“It felt good,” Alonso admitted. “It’s good to see the times that you are competitive.

“After testing there is always a mixed feeling where you are. And still we go into qualifying and the race [unclear what to expect], maybe the first three races at three different circuits.

“We are just concentrating on ourselves. There are still a lot of things to improve in the car, the balance was not completely perfect today.

“Also, the team has to change a few things. We are in the process of trying to reinforce every area of the team.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Bahrain Grand Prix Practice Day Sakhir, Bahrain

Alonso is being careful not to get carried away but the fact is the massive investment of this Lawrence Stroll-led project looks like it is about to yield its first real dividend.

The AMR23 is the first Aston Martin to have been overseen by highly-rated Red Bull recruit Dan Fallows as technical director and looks set to launch the team from seventh in the championship last year to at least the top of the midfield.

“Well, let’s see what happens in the first couple of races,” Alonso said to Sky Sports F1.

“At the moment it’s only a good couple of test sessions.

“Lawrence has this vision on everything he does. It’s very difficult to see Lawrence Stroll fail on anything he has in his vision.

“It’s a matter of time that Aston Martin could challenge the top teams. We’re in a very interesting process with a completely new car and technical department.

“There’s a lot we are learning but still a long way to go.”


Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Bahrain Grand Prix Practice Day Sakhir, Bahrain

Alonso’s qualifying simulations confirmed the widespread belief that the Aston Martin looks like a very good F1 car.

While pre-season favourite Red Bull struggled to adjust to the reduced grip offered by different track conditions to last week’s test, the AMR23 looked just as compliant as it did in pre-season.

If the lower grip, likely a result of some rain earlier in the week washing the track, and other factors have pulled Red Bull back, Aston Martin looks to have escaped any such issue.

Alonso looked more impressive on low fuel than on high fuel, but even then it was still solid. It is a tidy, usable car with a good working window and that seems to be paying dividends here.

The fact the recovering Lance Stroll has been able to jump in and get swiftly up to speed is a further nod to the car’s usability.

As Alonso put it: “Obviously it feels good to drive. I will lie if I say it’s not feeling good!”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks