Even before Aston Martin’s AMR24 turned its first lap on the track, Fernando Alonso discovered a problem with the car with its “heavy” steering.
After last year’s highs and lows, Alonso finishing the Drivers’ Championship in fourth place with eight podiums, the Spaniard has high expectations ahead of his second season with the team as he looks to move onto 33 Grand Prix wins.
One of the stars of last year’s championship when the 42-year-old proved to the world he still has what it takes to compete against the best, Alonso’s charge fell away as Aston Martin’s development path hit a glitch.
Pre-season issues with AMR24’s ‘heavy’ steering
The team pulled it back late on in the campaign but the dip meant Alonso fell to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, with the team finishing P5.
They’re hoping for better this season in an improved AMR24 with Alonso’s wealth of experience already catching one problem during his pre-season time spent in the simulator.
Although it is not a car on the track, Alonso highlighted the realism of the simulator that he said gave Aston Martin an “idea” of what the car would do.
The good, and the bad.
Putting in 100 to 120 laps on three different circuits in the Aston Martin simulator, Alonso discovered an issue with the AMR24.
“The most noticeable place, so you do Six, then you upshift and then you turn right to do Turn Seven and the steering is quite heavy and it takes a little bit of time,” he said in a YouTube video posted by the team.
Alonso and his team-mate Lance Stroll have been laying down the laps in the simulator ahead of the team’s February 12 launch. The team has yet to confirm if that will also mark the day the AMR24 covers its first laps on the track.
“When you are at the simulator, the focus is the main thing,” added the double World Champion.
“You have to be so precise in all the laps you have to do, and all the feedback that you’re giving to the engineers.
“You have to repeat the same lap every single time. That precision, that focus that you have to have here in the simulator is quite extreme and it has to be, I think, similar to the real car, obviously.”
Seat fittings, the FIA extraction tests and even establishing the pedal position and eye height he’ll need for this year’s 24 Grands Prix have all been a part of the Spaniard’s pre-season preparations.
“Everyone is excited and everything fits quite well which is the most important thing,” he said. “We just concentrate on the seat position, pedals, seat belts.
“We try all the FIA requirements as well in terms of the legality checks and things so it’s a very normal procedure at this stage of the year.
“You have to think that there are a couple of races that are completely different, maybe Monza and Monaco, which are completely opposite in terms of demands.
“So you have to think in advance which pedal position you want, what height position you want on your eye vision, when you are seated in the cockpit and try to accommodate one seat position that fulfils all the requirements for the season.”