Aston Martin ‘paying the price’ as Fernando Alonso makes grim US GP prediction

Jamie Woodhouse
Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso appearing in thought.

Fernando Alonso fears Aston Martin will be scoring zero points at the US Grand Prix as they “pay the price” for introducing upgrades at a sprint weekend.

Aston Martin are a team that has slipped away from the sharp end of the grid after a sensational start to F1 2023, though upgrades introduced for the United States Grand Prix brought the potential to inject some fresh life into their season.

An upgraded floor, bodywork and beam wing all graced the AMR23 for this visit to the Circuit of The Americas.

Fernando Alonso senses point-less US Grand Prix

The team very much came stumbling out of the blocks though in Austin as they suffered a double elimination in Q1, the sprint format meaning that only one hour of practice was available.

Saturday was a stronger showing for Aston Martin, Alonso qualifying P12 and Lance Stroll P14 for the sprint, though the lack of laps completed has Alonso admitting that his team are on the back foot.

“Pretty similar feeling and obviously lacking still practice,” said Alonso as he compared his qualifying outings.

“Yesterday only two laps in Q1, today three laps between Q1 and Q2, so obviously when you miss qualifying on Friday, you are on the back foot also in the qualifying on Saturday because you didn’t optimise flap and driving style on low fuel.

“But P12 is what we had today in qualy and let’s see in the race.”

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But, with a top-eight finish needed to score points in a sprint, while Alonso then faces a P17 grid slot for Sunday’s Grand Prix, the Spaniard is doubtful that Aston Martin will take any points away from COTA.

This he says is the result of this “bold” decision to bring upgrades to a sprint weekend, but hopes the pain will be worth it once the upgrades are understood and hopefully take the team in the right direction once more.

Asked what his mindset is knowing that the AMR23 is now locked into its current, tricky configuration for the rest of the race weekend, Alonso replied: “Obviously it is disappointing.

“You just try to complete the laps and hopefully score some points, but I think it’s going to probably be no points this weekend for us, so it is painful.

“Obviously we took a lot of risk bringing the new package with only one free practice and we are paying the price of that in the worst way possible.

“We are here to win, not to just score a few points every weekend, so sometimes we have to take these bold decisions and hopefully the price we will repay at the end of the year if we have more information about this package.”

McLaren have a golden opportunity to strip Aston Martin of P4 in the Constructors’ Championship this weekend, the gap only 11 points.

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