Fernando Alonso facing race against time for F1 qualifying after Imola practice crash

Oliver Harden
A close-up shot of an angry-looking Fernando Alonso with a prominent Aston Martin logo alongside him

Fernando Alonso's F1 career has been revitalised since he joined Aston Martin

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso is facing a race against time to make F1 qualifying at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix after crashing in final practice at Imola on Saturday morning.

Alonso brought out the red flags after 25 minutes of FP2 after losing the rear of his Aston Martin on the entry to the second Rivazza corner.

Fernando Alonso crashes out of Imola FP3, concerns for qualifying

The two-time World Champion was unable to catch the car, with the rear-left corner of his AMR24 making contact with the barrier.

“Sorry, mate,” Alonso was heard telling his race engineer over team radio in the moments after the incident. “I’m OK.”

The rear impact will almost certainly lead to concerns of damage to Alonso’s gearbox, with the Aston Martin mechanics facing a race against time to get his car repaired for the start of qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

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Alonso’s rare mistake comes after a muted practice performance at Imola, where he was classified 10th in both FP1 and FP2 on Friday.

The Spaniard was involved in an impeding incident with former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the second session on Friday, with Alonso aiming a dig at the seven-time World Champion after two separate near-misses at Acque Minerali and Tosa.

“Hamilton thinks that he is alone on the track!” raged Alonso over team radio.

In an attempt to close the gap to the top-four teams, Aston Martin have introduced their second major upgrade of the F1 2024 season at Imola following a previous update in Japan last month.

Aston Martin’s list of new parts for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix include changes to the front wing, nose, floor, engine cover, rear suspension and rear corner.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher, Aston Martin technical director Dan Fallows revealed the latest upgrade is based on what the team found from the car’s performance in pre-season testing in February.

“The majority of this update has been based on what we saw from the launch car, from the car in testing, and then how we want to sort of evolve that.

“We’ve seen some circuits suit us better than others and that’s something we focused on trying to make sure we can perform everywhere.

“We have an era of ground-effect cars that have specific windows of performance and you’re always trying to sort of broaden that.

“You want to make sure when you bring an update that it does perform in all the different conditions.”

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