Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2023 pre-season test

Sainz says Aston Martin will be “in the mix” but Alonso doubts podium possible

2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr he believes Aston Martin will be “in the mix” at the front of the field this weekend during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin finished sixth in the constructors’ championship last season but enjoyed a strong three day test in Bahrain last week with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Drugovich, who stepped in for the injured Lance Stroll. When asked if he expected Aston Martin to be genuine contenders at the front this weekend, Sainz told media including RaceFans “yes we do.”

“Mainly because it’s already been since December that everyone hears the rumours that Aston Martin is going to be quicker this year,” Sainz explained. “We all know their numbers were very good in the wind tunnel, in the simulator. They were, I think, even struggling to hide the excitement of what they were seeing.

“So arriving in Bahrain, it kind of confirmed that they are in the mix again with us. And I think it’s great news for Formula 1, good news for obviously Fernando. Excited to have one more team in the battle this year.”

However Alonso, who will make his debut with Aston Martin this weekend, is more cautious about his new team’s chances of being in the fight for a podium position in Bahrain.

“We will give our best in the race, but that’s not the target for us, to be honest,” Alonso said. “I think we need to keep learning about the car. Only one day-and-a-half or two days of testing in a completely new car, new package.

“I think the top three teams, they were in another league last year. They were lapping sometimes even the fourth team and basically only seven cars finished on the same lap. So we cannot make that kind of a step only in one winter.

“We are very happy with the car, but I think we have to have the feet on the ground and keep working on this good baseline.”

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2023 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
    Claire Cottingham
    Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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    4 comments on “Sainz says Aston Martin will be “in the mix” but Alonso doubts podium possible”

    1. That was my guess despite the hype. Easy to forget the “big three” have a lock on positions 1-6 barring unforeseen circumstances until actual regular season racing shows otherwise.

      I think they’ll be in the mix for podiums on genuine performance 2-3 times during the season and the rest will require all those elements from DNFs, parts penalties, well timed safety cars (a lot of chances for those since F1 now considers almost anything worthy of one), etc. Alonso, will naturally always get the car about 2-3+ spots further in the results than it would normally be.

    2. Usual Alonso. When he says podiums are out of reach, you know what time it is.

      1. Alonso’s definitely downplaying his chances this weekend.. but I guess it’s a safer approach as none of the teams have revealed their true pace yet. I believe that they should be on par with the Mercedes this weekend, but behind Ferrari in quali pace. I think Alonso could bag a P5 finish, but only with some luck would he be able to bag a podium.

    3. The truth is.. as it always tends to be.. somewhere between.

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