Fernando Alonso can’t resist another dig at Alpine after Miami qualifying

Oliver Harden
Fernando Alonso stern look speaking to the media. Azerbaijan April 2023

Fernando Alonso stern look speaking to the media. Azerbaijan April 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso could not resist another dig at former employers Alpine after qualifying on the front row for the Miami Grand Prix.

Alonso finished third in each of the first three races of the 2023 season for Aston Martin, but had to settle for fourth last time out in Azerbaijan.

The Spaniard has been right back in contention this weekend in Miami and qualified second to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after Charles Leclerc’s crash with less than two minutes remaining restricted the Q3 participants to a single run.

The two-time World Champion has been credited with rejuvenating Aston Martin, who finished a lowly seventh in the last season’s Constructors’ standings, following his arrival over the winter from Alpine.

Alonso won both of his F1 titles with Alpine – then competing under the guise of Renault – in 2005/06 and returned to the team following a two-year break from the sport in 2021.

He was said to be unimpressed by Alpine’s approach to contract negotiations during the 2022 season, with the team’s concerns over his age forcing him to look elsewhere.

Alonso had already fired shots at Alpine during Friday’s second practice session in Florida.

And after qualifying in Miami, Alonso explained that he has found a team who have faith in him and his abilities at Aston Martin.

“I think I’ve been always motivated,” he said.

“I’ve been always working hard, but I didn’t have probably the team believing in my performance, in my ability to set up the car as well and to move forward.

“And also I never had a fast car as I have now. So I think that’s the reason.

“I didn’t change anything but Aston Martin changed everything for me.”

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Alonso explained the key to Aston Martin’s speed in qualifying in Miami, revealing that the team had settled on a familiar setup after experimenting in Saturday’s final practice session.

He said: “It was a good qualifying.

“I think FP3 was a little bit messy for us.

“We tried different setups and it didn’t work but the team obviously put the car on a more known place after the first four races and the car came alive in qualifying.

“So certainly happy with P2, obviously, first row of the grid. Let’s see what we can do.”

On the handling of the car, he added: “Perfect.

“I did enjoy every lap.

“It was so enjoyable to drive, especially the low-speed corners here are quite tricky.

“You go quite close to the walls between Turns 11 and 16, so you need to have that confidence in the car to really attack qualifying and I had the confidence today so I was very pleased.”

The slippery track surface in Miami has caused discontent among the drivers, with many cars going off the circuit over the course of the weekend to date.

Alonso has opened up about the challenged of the track and is wary of rain affecting proceedings in Sunday’s race.

“I think it was difficult the whole weekend,” he said.

“It is a very narrow racing line that we are cleaning and it gets quite grippy, but off line it gets quite slippery.

“And we need to have an eye on the weather as well.

“There are some forecasts that say rain tomorrow, if that comes obviously it’s going to be a new thing.”