Fernando Alonso lifts the lid on ‘painful’ Aston Martin experiments

Michelle Foster
Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso explains Aston Martin's struggles.

Fernando Alonso admits Aston Martin’s experiments led to a “painful” period for the team but he’s hoping they’ll reap the rewards next season.

Having been Red Bull’s closest competitor in the early rounds of this season as Alonso claimed six podium results in eight races, Aston Martin lost momentum with their mid-season upgrades.

Instead of taking strides forward, as the likes of Mercedes and most notably McLaren managed, the AMR23 seemed to lose performance with every update.

Fernando Alonso explains ‘painful’ Aston Martin mid-season slump

The team admitted they’d be led astray by their simulation tools and had to backtrack, prompting a floor evaluation test at the United States and Mexican Grands Prix while in Brazil they mixed and matched parts from old and new specs.

It was a “painful” period for the team but one that Alonso believes will pay dividends next season.

“We had to experiment a little bit on a few things on the car to really understand the direction that we were going, and we have to go for next year’s car as well,” he said as per Motorsport.com.

“So, those races were painful, especially Mexico. I think we were very slow as a team.”

Team boss Mike Krack called a “sacrifice” but one that he too hopes will work in their favour in the long run.

“This is not about the outside world, this is about ourselves,” he said. “We wanted to learn as much as possible for next year. But obviously, then you sacrifice a bit the results…

“You have a range of parts that you combine them. The cars are very complicated and you need to really understand the different areas, how they interact with each other.”

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Aston Martin scrapped ‘R&D’ projects for late-season points

Confident they now have a better understanding of the AMR23, Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough said in the build-up to the Brazilian Grand Prix that the team would scrap their on-track R&D projects and focus on points in the final few races.

The team not only finished on the podium with Alonso at the Interlagos circuit, Lance Stroll was P5.

It was their biggest points-haul since round three, the Australian Grand Prix, putting the team 21 points behind McLaren in the fight for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.

“We have been quite aggressive with some developments, a few races ago, introducing them at the Sprint, really research and development for next year’s car in some ideas,” McCullough had said.

“That means it’s quite hard to optimise the car at a race weekend, especially in a Sprint format.

“We’re definitely learning. We’ve put a lot of good data in the bank for next year.

“This weekend, we’ve just got our focus on operationally executing a strong weekend in the now, rather than gathering data for the future.

“We’ve got a good understanding of how to get the most out of our current car.

“We’re really just focusing, these next few races, on trying to get as many points as we can, rather than doing too many R&D projects in front of you all at the track.”

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