Fernando Alonso believes his finishing position relative to Aston Martin’s shows what a strong season he had this year.
Finishing in fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship – courtesy of his extra podiums putting him ahead of Charles Leclerc as both finished on 206 points – Alonso believes 2023 has been one of his strongest ever seasons in Formula 1.
Given his two world titles and raft of title challenges over his two decades in the sport, it’s quite a claim from the Spaniard – but Alonso has explained his reasoning following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso: It’s been a dream season for me
While Aston Martin’s form dipped badly in the middle part of the season as the team’s upgrade path led them in the wrong direction, Alonso was a regular performer at the sharp end of the field as he claimed multiple podiums in what was an exceptionally strong start to the year.
Third place in Sao Paolo showed a turnaround back towards the front towards season end, and Alonso reflected on his year as he spoke to media – including PlanetF1.com – following his race in Abu Dhabi.
“It has been a historical season for Aston Martin and for myself,” he said.
“Eight podiums, more than 200 points, I think 300 points nearly (280 – editor) for the team.
“12 months ago, this was unthinkable. So this is the best season ever for the team as well, with whatever names they had before. So this is an incredible year to remember.
“The expectations were low. So we exceeded the expectations this year. Maybe next year is the opposite – expectations will be very high. So we have some pressure on the shoulders.”
Asked whether such an approach might lead to disappointment in 2024 as Aston Martin will be expected to deliver, Alonso said such pressure is expected.
“This is Formula 1, this is not a charity event,” he said.
“We have to have the pressure, we have to deliver. I mean, fifth in the Constructors’, it hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that. We were hoping for better than that at the beginning of the year.”
But it’s the fact that his own finishing position was so high in comparison to where the team finished in the Constructors’ that has Alonso hailing his own season as being one of his strongest ever.
“On the Drivers’ [Championship], to finish fourth is a little bit unreal fighting with the guys that we were fighting,” he said.
“In fact, if we are fifth in the Constructors’, normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers’.
“So yeah, it’s a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself.
“This is completely unexpected, completely unreal to be fourth in the championship.
“2012 and this season, for me, are the best in my career and a position that I could never have imagined at the beginning of the year with the car performance we had.”