How Fernando Alonso had an immediate impact from day one at Aston Martin

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin in testing. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Fernando Alonso was able to quickly spot the differences between the performance of his Alpine and Aston Martin after taking part in post-season testing, according to deputy technical director Eric Blandin.

The two-time World Champion tested for his new team in neutral overalls at Abu Dhabi after the season’s conclusion, and Blandin said Alonso was able to offer “extremely precise” feedback almost immediately on what was better and worse about the AMR22 compared to the Alpine A522.

Such was the quality of what he had to say, the Aston Martin team were able to take it on board and put some of his ideas into practice for the development of the AMR23 over winter – giving the Spaniard an immediate impact in lending a helping hand in the development direction at his new team.

In an interview published on Aston Martin’s official website, Blandin explained just what Alonso will bring to the team next season – though he admitted there will also be pressure on the team to give him and Lance Stroll a car capable of challenging in 2023.

“Fernando’s feedback is extremely precise,” Blandin said. “He clearly communicated what he wants from the car and immediately identified a few things that we’ve been able to feed into the design of the AMR23.

“Last season, Fernando drove a car that was quite different from ours – and more competitive. After driving the AMR22, he was quickly able to compare the two cars and say, ‘this is clearly better, this is clearly worse, and this is what we should focus on.’”

At face value, Alonso will be stepping down the grid for the coming season after Alpine finished ‘best of the rest’ in fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, while Aston Martin were unable to overhaul Alfa Romeo at the last and remained seventh come season’s end.

But with significant investment having been made at their Silverstone base, the first building of their new factory due to open in May, as well as a swathe of hires from the top end of the field, the team look well-placed to make solid progress in the years ahead, with Alonso there to help spearhead the team’s ascent.

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“Fernando is an outstanding driver,” Blandin said. “There aren’t many drivers of his calibre on the grid – you can count them on one hand. He’s so passionate, so driven… extremely driven. After everything he’s achieved, he still has that restless hunger to win.

“Signing Fernando was massive for the team. He’s going to push us a lot and help take us to the next level.

“He’ll push Lance, too. They’ll complement each other and he’ll bring out the best in him. We have a very strong driver pairing, and it’s up to us to give them a competitive car.

“We can have the best driver pairing on the grid, but it won’t count for much if we don’t give them a fast car. We need to deliver.”