Fernando Alonso worried his Aston Martin’s DRS could end his run of podium finishes

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso stern look speaking to the media. Azerbaijan April 2023

Fernando Alonso stern look speaking to the media. Azerbaijan April 2023

Although Fernando Alonso made it through Saturday’s sprint race without any of the DRS issues that plagued Aston Martin in the weekend’s earlier sessions, he’s worried it won’t be “bulletproof into the race”.

Aston Martin’s Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend was blighted by DRS issues for both Alonso and Stroll, the team-mates only P6 and P9 in the evening’s qualifying session.

Despite the team working on the problem, it was back in the sprint shootout where Alonso had to give Stroll the tow in an attempt to help him find tenths when his DRS again failed.

The team-mates went onto finish the sprint race sixth and eighth where once again Stroll’s DRS failed him, the Canadian struggling to overtake the Williams of Alex Albon in their battle for the final points-paying position.

It has Alonso conceding Aston Martin “cannot be 100 percent sure” their AMR23’s DRS will work during Sunday’s 51-lap Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“That (the DRS) is the topic this weekend in our team. We’ve had problems every session,” he said.

“It did work (during the sprint). I pressed it two times in the race and it did open, so I hope everything is fixed.

“One time I wasn’t looking in the mirrors so I’m not sure but I’m sure the team is analysing all the available data.

“We cannot be 100 percent sure (it is fixed). I don’t think the system is bulletproof into the race, but it is the way it is.

“If we have some tweaks to do we have another chance before the race.

“But even with the DRS it seems very difficult to overtake when you are following so maybe it’s not the key factor even if it doesn’t work.”

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Having arrived in Azerbaijan on the back of three successive P3 finishes, Alonso concedes that this weekend is shaping up to a a “little worse” for Aston Martin.

“The weekend in general has been a little worse than the previous three races,” he said.

“We were right to be concerned coming into the race (weekend) but for the race itself, I have to say I’m more optimistic now after the sprint that the car will be fast.

“I was fast in the sprint. I was faster than a Ferrari and Mercedes. I start P6 (in the grand prix) so we still have a chance to finish top five.

“That will be ideal if we can finish sixth on Saturday, top five on Sunday. On a difficult weekend that will be very good news.”

Alonso lines up on the grid third in the Drivers’ Championship with 48 points, eight ahead of Lewis Hamilton, while Aston Martin are six ahead of Mercedes in the race for P2.