Fernando Alonso quizzed on Aston Martin’s sudden slump as hype train faces derailment

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso up close in the AMR23. Britain July 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso up close in the AMR23. Britain July 2023

Fernando Alonso isn’t worried about Aston Martin’s recent relegation in the pecking order, blaming it on rivals’ upgrades and also the tracks in play.

Despite declaring after the Spanish Grand Prix that his P7 would be his only race weekend off the podium, Alonso was again outside of the top-three at the Austrian Grand Prix and he’s facing the prospect of another podium-less Sunday at Silverstone.

Qualifying down in ninth place in a session in which McLaren came to the fore as Red Bull’s nearest challenger, Alonso is also behind both Ferrari drivers and the Mercedes team-mates.

Fernando Alonso declares ‘let’s see’ to his podium chances

He accepted it was not a great day for Aston Martin with his team-mate Lance Stroll P12 in qualifying.

“It wasn’t a not a good day,” he told Sky Sports. “Obviously P9 and 12 are not the results that we wanted, but nothing we can do now and let’s hope for a better race and scoring some good points.

“It seems that we have to be on a defensive strategy this weekend to try to score a few points but not maybe fighting for big ones. Let’s see what happens in front of us.”

It’s the second race weekend in a row in which Alonso has lost out to Ferrari as well as McLaren and Mercedes, although in Austria it was only one car each from the latter two that beat him in qualifying.

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

McLaren’s improvement comes on the back of the introduction of a heavily upgraded MCL60, the car adopting a more Red Bull-esque look, while both Mercedes and Ferrari have also put big updates on the track in recent races.

It’s those updates that Alonso believes have given them a bit of an edge with the Spaniard also saying it’s very track specific with his AMR23 not suited to Barcelona, the Red Bull Ring nor Silverstone.

“Let’s see,” he said of his chances of making it onto the podium on Sunday. “I think it’s very up and down all season.

“In terms of performance we we started really strong in 2023 but we were strong two races ago in Canada so it’s not that long ago.

“Some of our competition they have really improved the car and a lot of new parts. So that’s one reason.

“The second reason I think is track specific. We didn’t perform in Barcelona, Austria and Silverstone, all three of them are similar in terms of track characteristics so we need to understand really what are our weaknesses are on the car and try to work on that.

“And we make the count in Abu Dhabi. I’m not too stressed thing is very track specific.

“Williams was very strong here last year, starting alongside me, and in Monza they were very strong. McLaren was strong last year in Austria and Silverstone. They are strong this year in Austin Silverstone. So yeah, let’s see.

“I think we have to capitalise in terms of points and podiums when we have a strong weekend. And we have to score points when we have a weak weekend. So that’s the goal.”

Read next: Toto Wolff responds as Lewis Hamilton makes Red Bull-esque McLaren observation