Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2023

Aston Martin simulation shows team missed chance to get Alonso ahead of Verstappen

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack admitted Fernando Alonso likely would have passed Max Verstappen for the lead in the Monaco Grand Prix had the team fitted intermediate tyres rather than slicks as the rain fell.

Alonso was running in second place behind Verstappen as rain started to fall with under 30 laps remaining in the Monaco race. Alonso was called into the pits at the end of lap 54 but was switched onto medium tyres rather than intermediates. Six other drivers had already pitted for intermediate tyres at that point.

On Alonso’s out-lap, it became clear intermediates were the right choice for the conditions and he returned to the pits for them on the very next lap.

Verstappen also pitted for intermediates on the same lap and emerged with his lead intact. Krack admitted that had the team put Alonso on intermediate tyres when he first came in, he would have likely taken the lead.

“The computer system says that if we had gone to inters, we would have probably come in front of Max,” he said. “But that does not mean we would have won the race.

“So yes, in the full benefit of hindsight, that would have been the case. But when you make the decisions, you have to rely on the data that you have.”

Krack said the team would “not gamble” on the decision if they weren’t confident intermediates were the right way to go.

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“So from that point of view, everything was working as it should have worked. And it’s clear that with the benefit of hindsight, you might sometimes do things differently.”

Yesterday Alonso said that even if Aston Martin had made the call to switch to intermediates, the conversation over the race would be dominated by criticism of Red Bull for failing to make the right strategy call, rather than his team making the right one, Krack says that that is the “nature of Formula 1.”

“We are exposed and we want to be reported when everything runs well,”, he said. “And then we have also to accept if the reports are coming out if things could have been better.

“It’s not really a drama. I understand, Fernando, that he pointed this out because it is a fact. But we know that and with the media, sport is so public and so under scrutiny, then it is clear that these things are also being discussed.”

Once both drivers were on intermediate tyres, Alonso initially gained six seconds on Verstappen over four laps. However by the end of the race he’d lost that gain and around four seconds more.

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2023 Spanish 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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12 comments on “Aston Martin simulation shows team missed chance to get Alonso ahead of Verstappen”

  1. He would’ve only had his out-lap to try & get the gap below 19.5 seconds, so maybe, maybe not.
    Not necessarily a guarantee, but possible definitely.

    1. He would’ve only had his out-lap to try & get the gap below 19.5 seconds

      At the S2 timing line Alonso was only 17.064s behind Verstappen (when both came in for Inters).

      And all drivers who pitted for Inters at the same time as Alonso’s first stop were another 4-6s faster than Alonso in the first two sectors. e.g. Sargeant pitting a few seconds after Alonso was 5.200s faster than Alonso.

      I guess no doubt that Alonso would have been leading the GP if pitting for Inters on lap 54.

      1. Yes, and then I have a hard time seeing verstappen overtake alonso, so I don’t see how they can’t be sure they’d have won it. I agree with the fact you needed hindsight to go for it though.

  2. It is a flawed analysis given that Max was advised that Alonso pitted for new mediums instead of inters – as result there was no pressure on Max nor Red Bull to rush back to the pits to stay out ahead of Alonso.

    Also after leaving the pits on new inters Max didn’t have to push and therefore gently brought the inters up to speed.

    Last and not mentioned anywhere nor shown on TV, Alonso drove straight coming out of the tunnel on his lap with mediums. That gained time would have led to a penalty if he indeed would have stayed ahead of Max.

    1. Wow, wasn’t aware, so stewards DO take consequences into account for penalties, other than not! Might do that as well for contacts then.

      1. It’s basically leaving the track and gaining an advantage not sure if Alonso would get away with it.
        But as Jimmy Cliff mentioned the inlap of Max was without pressure as he was advised to bring it in slow. So would Alonso really undercut the 13s gap after switching to inters at lap 54? its not very realistic unless you calculate with that unrealistic slow inlap from Max

  3. “based on hindsight”????

    Everyone watching the TV coverage could tell Inters were the right call for Alonso… and we were stunned when they put mediums on. Crazy that the team thought any different.

    1. That’s just typical F1-style PR. We don’t have to take them seriously, or waste much time on this. They put out their statements, journalists play dumb, that’s the way it goes most of the time… They know exactly how wrong they were, and it happens. If they had two real drivers, perhaps they would do better with the other one. They don’t have that option, unlike their rivals.

      1. Actually, Jolyon Palmer did his own analysis which showed that Alonso would have easily come out ahead of Max if he had switched to inters on his first stop while Max was sliding around on his mediums. If he had the same speed out lap as Hamilton he would have been 10+ seconds ahead. If he had a similar out lap to Ocon, he would have been 4 seconds ahead.

        And if they had taken the opportunity to use Stroll to delay Max by a 2-3 seconds (even with blue flags), he would have been far ahead.

        So, maybe you don’t have 90% of the data or facts.

    2. I’m also one of those surprised they didn’t put intermediates, but alonso himself said the conditions were too dry for inters, they didn’t expect the track to worsen by so much in half a lap; alonso as soon as he came out noticed and said they will pit for inters next lap.

      1. For Alonso in the car, it was too dry– For Aston Martin in the pitwall, with radar, with spotters around the track, they should have known how fast the rain would increase.

        Half a lap, one lap, two laps– if you expect the rain to worsen, you put on rain tires so you don’t have to make an extra stop.

  4. Surprised the teams did not employ spotters around the track, rare to see F1 caught with pants down like this

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