Fernando Alonso warns Red Bull and Ferrari of ‘very powerful weapon’ in Aston Martin’s arsenal

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has highlighted the DRS strength of his Aston Martin ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso believes a strength of his Aston Martin AMR24 will play into his hands in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Coming off the back of sixth place in Japan, the two-time F1 World Champion feels the DRS strength of his Aston Martin could prove crucial down the long back straight at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Fernando Alonso: We have a very powerful DRS

F1 returns to Shanghai this weekend, five years on since the last Chinese Grand Prix as the last race to return to the calendar from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Shanghai circuit boasts one of the longest straights in Formula 1, at 1.2 kilometres in length, meaning cars with good straight-line speed can excel.

Alonso finished sixth at the high-speed Suzuka circuit last time out, and pointed out the “very powerful DRS” could play a role on a weekend where other variables such as inclement weather and the return of the sprint format all promise to shake up the order.

“I think, always, it gives us a little bit more of an opportunity when you have a little bit of deficit on the pace,” he told media after the Australian Grand Prix.

“Mixed conditions or a sprint weekend, all these kinds of things always give you something extra. But it’s gonna be tough.

“I think China, with these long corners, a front-limited circuit – maybe like Australia – I expect Ferrari to be very fast.

“But also Red Bull and… let’s see.

“We have a very powerful DRS, and maybe that helps on the long China straight, so let’s see.”

Asked what he based his assessment of the pecking order on, Alonso smiled: “I drive the car on track, and I see it!”

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The two-time F1 World Champion, who has signed on to remain with Aston Martin as a driver for at least another two seasons and confirmed his new contract in between the Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix, said he reckons the pace of the AMR24 still needs work.

The team introduced a small upgrade package in Japan, including tweaks to the floor, bodywork, and the rear beam spoiler, and Alonso said there’s plenty more to come throughout the season.

“I think there are a couple of things in the pipeline to improve the car,” he said.

“I think this first package is just the baseline of what we will introduce later in the season. So we still need to analyse many things.

“But, as I said, we are executing very well on Sundays maximising the points, even more than what we deserve normally.

“The pit stops were great – actually, on the second stop, when I saw the green light and I went, ‘Maybe they didn’t change all four tyres’, because it, for me, felt like the fastest ever.

“So there are small things here and there that are making it possible to get the results. But I think, fundamentally, the pace is not where we want to be. And this is something we need to focus on now.”

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