Fernando Alonso drops blame culture hint ‘at other teams’ in coded F1 message

Oliver Harden
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso celebrates with his Aston Martin team after finishing on the podium at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has praised Aston Martin’s approach to climbing out of their mid-season slump, claiming other teams would have “blamed each other” in a similar scenario.

Aston Martin made a fine start to the 2023 season, with Alonso claiming six podium finishes in the opening eight races to leave the team sitting just seven points away from second-placed Mercedes after June’s Canadian Grand Prix.

However, the team’s performance fell away after a string of unsuccessful upgrades, with Aston Martin dropping to fifth behind Ferrari and a rejuvenated McLaren.

Fernando Alonso proud of Aston Martin revival

Reverting to an old aerodynamic specification, Alonso returned to the podium for the first time since August with a stunning performance at last weekend’s Brazilian GP, where he resisted the advances of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull to take third.

That came after the team’s best overall qualifying result since their Aston Martin rebrand in 2021, with Alonso and team-mate Lance Stroll lining up fourth and third on the grid at Interlagos.

Alonso felt his return to the podium was a reward for the “unity” Aston Martin have shown in recent months, hinting that other teams may have torn themselves apart after such an alarming loss of form.

And he insisted that his first podium finish of 2023 in Bahrain – the first top-three result since 2021 for both driver and team – remains the high point of his season.

Asked if his third place in Brazil meant more to him than Bahrain, he told Sky F1: “No, Bahrain is still very special.

“But we really needed a nice result. Even if it was not a podium, I think a top-five was really needed inside the team.

“I’m happy for everyone at Aston because I think the determination, the focus and the analysis of our problems in the last few events was very deep and everyone was very united, which is not normal.

“When things are not going right, sometimes you see [in] teams that someone is blaming each other. I think that, in this respect, it was very nice to witness from the outside how united we were.

“So this is for everyone in Silverstone – and hopefully [an even] better race in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.”

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Alonso’s comments come just days after Mercedes parted company with former technical director Mike Elliott, who was seen as the individual responsible for the team’s decision to persevere with the divisive zero-pod concept at the start of this season despite a poor 2022 campaign.

With Lewis Hamilton claiming his guidance over car design went ignored over the winter, Mercedes took the decision to abandon the zero-pod design after the season opener in Bahrain with Elliott swapping positions with chief technical officer James Allison following his own review into the team’s technical structure.

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