Fernando Alonso rails against mid-season rule changes as Aston Martin slide

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso came second to Adrian Newey cars three times

Fernando Alonso isn’t happy about Formula 1 making mid-season rule changes, highlighting examples from the past.

Recently, Pirelli introduced a new construction tyre for the remainder of the 2023 season – rolling out the new tyres at the British Grand Prix as the manufacturer looks ahead to its evolving range for 2024.

The changes to the tyres roughly corresponded with Aston Martin’s dip in form as the Silverstone-based team went from challenging for regular podiums to only scraping into the points – leading Alonso to offer the hypothesis the tyres had an effect on his team’s, along with Red Bull’s, outright pace.

Fernando Alonso: Aston Martin needs to get to grips with new tyre compound

Asked about the differences he’s feeling from the car since the tyre compounds were changed over, Alonso said the lack of grip is very evident.

“We have more sliding and less grip, our performance shows,” he said.

“It has been some difficult weekends, it can be our car – it can be we didn’t make the right choices into those circuits in terms of setup, in terms of whatever, it could be some of our competitors that they came with strong packages and very fast.

“It can be either way or just the tyres that maybe we didn’t exploit the maximum potential for them.

“The tyres did change in the middle of the year. Now we need to get used to these new compounds and new constructions and get the most of them because maybe, at the moment, we didn’t know how to approach them. And we need to get better.”

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Fernando Alonso: I’m not a fan of mid-season rule changes

Elaborating on his feelings regarding mid-season changes as dramatic as a tyre compound change, Alonso pointed to examples such as the tightening up of the flexing wings as the FIA devised new tests during the 2021 season.

In 2022, the FIA introduced a technical directive aimed at the ground-effect floors in a bid to cure porpoising. While made on the grounds of safety, the directive ruined Ferrari’s championship challenge, and the Scuderia are yet to catch back up.

Back in Alonso’s own title-winning days, way back in 2006, Alonso also almost lost the title when the FIA banned the mass-damper system on his Renault – a change that was made mid-season.

Asked whether he believed Pirelli needed to make any changes to the tyres this year, Alonso said: “I don’t know – I don’t have all the information that Pirelli has. I’m not a fan of changing the tyres in the middle of the year or changing the rules in the middle of the year. I’ve never been a fan of those.

“Not only the tyres, but there were also a couple of seasons that we change the exhaust blowing, I was not a big fan of doing that in the middle of the season.

“I was not a fan of changing the flexi-wings in the middle of the year because, if a car started with certain flexibility in the wings, why in the middle of the year do they have to stiffen those wings or whatever. There was one year for Red Bull that the front wing was doing funny things and, from one race to the other, that was banned. It should not be like that.

“If they found something and they were doing something, they should keep it for the rest of the year. And if that was not legal, they should not be legal the first 10 races of that season.

“I’m a guy of that opinion. But in terms of this, it is a safety matter in the tyres. I didn’t see any explosions or any things in the first part of the year but maybe they saw some critical aspects on the tyres that we don’t know. And they made the change for a reason. So I’m happy with that.”

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