Fernando Alonso ‘100+ percent more optimistic’ after first Aston Martin test

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track in an unbranded car at the Abu Dhabi test. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track in an unbranded car at the Abu Dhabi test. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Fernando Alonso has revealed his first test with Aston Martin couldn’t have gone much better, as he got used to his new F1 car.

Alonso was straight back into action at Yas Marina for the post-season tyre test in Abu Dhabi, as all 10 teams stayed on in the United Arab Emirates for the one-day test.

The Spaniard, having quickly shaken off the disappointment of his retirement from his final race with Alpine on Sunday, spared no time by immediately moving into the Aston Martin hospitality unit and then getting a guided tour of the garage on Monday to be introduced to his new team.

Alonso was then given the Tuesday morning run programme in the AMR22, albeit in an unbranded dark green car due to his contract with Alpine still being in place until the end of the year.

Completing 97 laps in total before he stepped out to speak to reporters, Alonso was beaming as he revealed his optimism ahead of the upcoming season.

“No, I’m much more optimistic now,” when asked by PlanetF1 whether he was as optimistic about Aston Martin’s chances in 2023 following the test, as opposed to before driving the car.

“When I signed for Aston Martin [in July], I was 90% happy. When they started improving and they finished the season on a high, I was 100%.

“This morning, I was 100%, now I’m 100+!”

While the test went very smoothly for Alonso as he racked up 97 trouble-free laps, he revealed that it wasn’t the most comfortable of tests as his seat didn’t quite fit him perfectly.

“First the seat, because it’s a little painful on the left side,” he told media, including PlanetF1, when asked about what improvements are needed.

“Obviously, we did 97 laps compressed in one morning, so it was quite extreme.

“But we will have to sit down, I have to go through now in my mind, everything that I felt. There are small things, most of them are comfort –  not really the balance itself, or the behaviour of the car.

“The shift tones for the gears, for the pitlane, the dash messages when you do a change, how long a message pops up on the dash. These kinds of things, obviously, you are used to one setup, and now you try to accommodate things, to see in a more natural way. So these kinds of things are probably the priority right now.”

Having stepped out of a similarly midfield Alpine car, who finished two position ahead of Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship, Alonso was asked about what differences he could feel between the AMR22 and the A522.

“It is very different, because I think the philosophies are very different on how they design the car and how they run the car,” he explained.

“So it was nice to feel the differences a little bit and now try to understand what is the best way. Next year, the car is going to be nearly new on everything. So there is not much point really to develop this idea much or anything like that. It was more about controls and other things.

“I was happily surprised with everything but this year’s car is not anywhere near what we will run next year. It was not really any anything really to get confident or anything like that. It’s not like there’s going to be a continuation of this car or something like that.

“But they had a very strong weekend here, Sebastian [Vettel] qualifying in front of me. So I don’t think that it was much of a difference between Aston Martin and Alpine at the weekend. I felt basically the same as well, I felt a very competitive car. Both Aston Martins finished in the points, so it was a good car anyway.”

Read More: Post-season Abu Dhabi test midday: Charles Leclerc P1 as Alonso makes his Aston debut