Fernando Alonso feels he and that Aston Martin AMR23 must be “very attractive” for his peers considering the frequency with which he is getting hit.
The Spaniard found himself in the thick of the action at a rather barmy second restart of the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
An earlier crash for Alex Albon had already brought out the red flags due to the gravel on the track, necessitating a standing restart, and then another came after further red flag delays, this time caused by Kevin Magnussen hitting the wall coming out of Turn 2.
And as the drivers darted for Turn 1 from a third standing start of the afternoon, Alonso would be sent spinning as he received a hit from his compatriot Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari.
With further shunts behind, the race was red flagged again and ultimately finished with one more restart, this time a final lap behind the Safety Car so that Max Verstappen could take the chequered flag and lead the remaining drivers home.
Fortunately for Alonso he was P3 in the order, as Race Control had ordered the restart to take place with cars in their positions at the previous one, meaning it was a third P3 in as many races to start the F1 2023 campaign for Alonso.
However, it was nonetheless a second race of the campaign where Alonso had to survive a whack from another car, his Bahrain GP having so nearly ended right at the very start when he got a hit from behind courtesy of Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll.
Alonso then believes that he is a “very attractive” target to aim for these days, as on top of that Sainz collision, he also felt a tap on the opening lap at Turn 3, which looked to also have been Stroll’s doing.
Asked post-race to explain what went on with that Sainz incident, Alonso replied: “I mean, obviously I didn’t know who touched me in that moment.
“I just felt in Lap 1 of the first start, someone touched me in Turn 3, and then yeah, in the last restart Carlos apparently touched me in Turn 1.
“Probably only in Jeddah I had a normal start, in Bahrain also in Turn 4 Lance touched me into Turn 4.
“So, yeah, there is like, I’m very attractive out there!”
Nonetheless, with Aston Martin proving to be the surprise package of F1 2023, Alonso boasting that 100 per cent podium attendance record so far, he warned that the team have the pace to get through these hits.
“But our car is strong enough,” he continued. “So you know, it doesn’t matter if they keep touching us.”
With that P3 in Melbourne, Alonso now moves onto 101 podium finishes in his Formula 1 career, and he will be expecting to see that tally climb further still.