Fernando Alonso explains ‘minus 12’ mishap that had Aston Martin ‘laughing’

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen laughing in the post race press conference. Miami May 2023

Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen laughing in the post race press conference. Miami May 2023

Telling Aston Martin his strategy felt like “plan A minus 12”, Fernando Alonso confused his engineers and social media with the former at least laughing about it.

Running second behind Sergio Perez in the early part of the Miami Grand Prix, Alonso told Aston Martin that it “feels plan A minus 12”. That implied he wanted to pit 12 laps before the pre-planned strategy, potentially undercutting Perez for a shot at the race lead.

But with the Spaniard staying out, he later admitted to Sky Sports that the “minus 12” was a slip of the tongue.

“No, I had Plan A and Plan B and I mixed them up, [so] minus 12 was not what I meant,” he said.

“I said sorry a few seconds later, they understood because they were laughing. It was not possible to do minus 12 because we had already passed that lap.”

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He was asked about the radio message in the post-race press conference, the 42-year-old having bagged his fourth podium of the season behind Max Verstappen and Perez with even the championship leader interested in the answer.

He said: “Plan A-12. 12 laps short of pit?”

Alonso replied: “I did a mistake! I was just telling them which lap I think the tyre will be in good shape before the stop. And then yeah, I make a mistake, because Plan A-12 it was already gone a few laps before that.

“A few seconds later I said sorry, they were already laughing on the radio. So they realised I was telling something stupid.”

His team boss Mike Krack was also asked about the radio message but opted to explain the team’s strategy rather than have a dig at his driver’s error.

“I think we had the lap time at that point, which I think was about a dozen laps or something,” Krack said as per Motorsport.com.

“You know, there’s always these things where the tyres start to overheat a little bit and then they’re performing again.

“But if it doesn’t come back right away, then it might not come back at all. So that was a bit of a clue that probably compound degradation was higher than we thought. But after a couple of laps we realised that the rhythm was back.”

He added: “We wanted to stick with our plan and not rush into undercuts. It was all about getting a tyre advantage.

“Let’s not forget that we didn’t know how long we could last on the hard, and we also didn’t want to get into traffic because then you get dirty air. That’s what happened.”

“So I think it was great that the strategy team said, ‘Let’s stay out, we still have pace on these tyres and we think it will pay off later in the race.’ And it did.”

Alonso crossed the line in third place to record his fourth podium in five races, the Spaniard up to 75 points in the Drivers’ Championship.