Fernando Alonso issues response to Lawrence Stroll’s ‘aggressive’ Canada target

Oliver Harden
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, in the paddock. F1 Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso,Aston Martin, in the paddock after qualifying. Saudi Arabia, March 2023.

Fernando Alonso believes Lawrence Stroll has set an “aggressive target” for Aston Martin by outlining his ambition to have two cars on the podium at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

With podiums at all but two of the first seven races, Alonso has enjoyed a fine start to his Aston Martin career in 2023 but team-mate Lance, Stroll’s son, has struggled by comparison with P4 in Australia his highest finish to date.

Aston Martin endured their least competitive performance of the season at the last round in Spain, where Stroll and Alonso crossed the line sixth and seventh respectively as the team lost second spot in the Constructors’ standings to Mercedes.

Mr Stroll turned up the head ahead of his home round in Canada, telling Reuters that he hopes to see “two cars on the podium” in Montreal this weekend.

“I’m extremely confident,” he said. “I believe the car will be very strong around the Montreal circuit, it suits our car well…so I’m really looking forward to going home and really looking forward to a great race.”

When asked in the FIA drivers’ press conference at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve if Stroll’s dream is likely to come to fruition on Sunday, Alonso said: “You never know, but it is an aggressive target for the weekend.

“But we know Lawrence. His ambition is super high always and we will try to make him happy and proud in the home grand prix.”

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After fears that Aston Martin have fallen behind Mercedes and Ferrari in the competitive order, the team are set to respond with a major upgrade package of their own in Montreal.

With rain expected throughout the weekend, Alonso hopes he can put on a stronger showing than in Spain.

On his expectations for Canada, he said: “Let’s see. I think it should be a good weekend, but you never know until you hit the track.

“We also had expectations in Barcelona and we didn’t perform in that race, so let’s see. We have a couple of new parts in the car as well at this race so, depending on the weather, we will try to test them and validate them and hopefully we can we can be a little bit more competitive than Barcelona.”

Alonso says the upgrade will look to build on the solid foundation the AMR23 proved to be in the first number of races, adding: “Always trying to improve a little bit.

“Our car has been [a] completely new project for Aston Martin, a completely new philosophy, new concept of how the car worked.

“We’ve been discovering things at every race this year and I think it’s an optimisation of the package what we’ve tried to do and we’ve been constantly bringing new parts to the races.

“This is another step forward and [there’s] more to come in the future.”