Fernando Alonso proven wrong over ‘too optimistic’ ambition for F1 2023 season

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso celebrates on the podium at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso celebrates on the podium at the Dutch Grand Prix.

The results Fernando Alonso has achieved in Formula 1 in 2023 came as something of a shock, even for the Spaniard…

With six podiums from the first eight races this season, Fernando Alonso briefly looked capable of challenging for the runner-up spot in the Drivers’ Championship.

However, in the last eight races, Alonso has only scored one podium and has slipped to fourth. Worse, he now has to look over his shoulder at the approaching Ferrari drivers, both of whom could still displace him further by the end of the championship.

Fernando Alonso: Aston Martin wants to make the next step next year

With Alonso slipping away in the championship as a result of Aston Martin’s slow but steady decline as the team have struggled to keep pace through the relentless development cycle of the established front-running teams, Alonso said he never even thought the results he’s achieved this season would have been possible when he first put pen to paper to join the Silverstone-based squad.

“To be honest, to be fighting for podiums and things like that, I think it was a little bit too optimistic,” he told Channel 4 about his mentality at the start of the season.

“But we found ourselves in a very strong position in Bahrain with a car that was performing really well and it was a nice surprise to have such a competitive car.

“So now we want more – we want the next step, which is fighting for race wins. Red Bull was very dominant this year but, next year, hopefully, we can do that step.”

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Mike Krack: Aston Martin have not maximised recent weekends

With Aston Martin failing to score points entirely in Singapore after a scrappy weekend in which Lance Stroll crashed heavily in qualifying and withdrew from the race, followed by a rear wing failure in Japan, that meant Alonso’s eighth place at Suzuka and ninth place at Monza are the only points the team have scored since his second-place finish at Zandvoort at the end of August.

The points drought means Aston Martin have slipped to fourth overall, and now have to worry about the pursuit of McLaren as the Woking-based team have improved massively through the year.

Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack believes the team still have more performance than they have shown in recent races, but have let themselves down operationally and in execution.

“I think we have a couple of races to go, plenty of opportunities and we need to maximise every weekend,” he said.

“We have not done that for a while now. We have managed to do that earlier in the season so it’s on us.

“We don’t have to look at others, we have to deliver 100% at all times, in all sessions. We had reliability glitches, and we had operational ones that we didn’t have at the beginning of the season and that is something we really need to improve on to get the maximum out of the car at all times. And if we manage that, I think there will be opportunities.”

Put to him by Sky F1 that Aston Martin seem to have slipped away during F1 2023, Krack replied: “The morale is good, I can confirm, everybody is really giving the maximum all the time.

“But yeah, it’s an easier situation if you catch up than if you are hunted, but it is also something that we need to learn to handle as a team.

“I said after the first three, four races that this is going to be a hard development race and that we are still small and we’re not geared up to fight with the big teams.

“Everybody was laughing a little bit, but we see that the others are making progress.

“It shows us that also we have done a great step with the car at the beginning of the season. So we must not forget that either. So all in all, I think as a team, we can only learn from this and we really need to push hard until the end.”

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