Aston Martin and Red Bull disadvantaged by unfair tyre specification change – Alonso

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso believes Aston Martin’s performance has been hit by the new tyre compounds which were introduced at the previous round.

He qualified eighth on the grid for this weekend’s race, 0.426 seconds off Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time.

This is the second race since F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli introduced a new specification of tyres. This was approved by the FIA after the first five races of the season due to concerns over the lap time improvements which had been made in the second year of F1’s current technical regulations.

Alonso admitted Aston Martin has come under greater pressure from rivals whose rate of development has been quicker. “We didn’t improve the car much,” he said after qualifying at the Hungaroring.

“You see the upgrades from everyone on Thursday when they have to publish the FIA documents and we see for 12 rounds now what we brought to the circuit and what the main rivals they brought obviously it’s a bit different there.

“So we need to speed up, we know, as a team also in many different areas one would be the rate of development into next year’s project.”

However he also suspects the new tyres introduced at Silverstone has affected their competitiveness and that of Red Bull, who have won every race so far this year.

“Also the tyres, I don’t think that it was a fair thing in Silverstone to introduce a new tyre.

“I think for Red Bull and Aston Martin it seems that Silverstone and Hungary were not our best circuits. We could be a casualty. We’ll see in the next races.”

After qualifying Alonso’s race engineer Chris Cronin told him he was little more than a tenth of a second off qualifying four places higher, which would have put him on the second row of the grid.

“I’m quite happy with the performance of the car today, the car felt good in qualifying,” he said. “It was fun to drive and I think we were four tenths from pole position, which is more or less the average of the season.

“So we are not too far, but everything is so close. With four tenths instead of being P4 or something like that you are P8. So that was the tricky thing but nothing we can do now. Let’s see if tomorrow we can be close on pace.”

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
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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26 comments on “Aston Martin and Red Bull disadvantaged by unfair tyre specification change – Alonso”

  1. Once again, how your car reacts to these Goldilocks Pirelli’s is more important than actually building the fastest car you can.

    I’m actually daring to say Mclaren’s recent upturn in form is because of their car liking these new Pirelli’s a lot more than actually their new upgrades.

    1. Err … Austria?

      1. You mean when Mclaren were more than 30 seconds behind Max before his unnecessary final stop and 3rd behind Ferrari?
        A Ferrari that seemed on top of their tyre issues in Canada and Austria then dropped back hard in Silverstone when the new rubber came in?
        RB and Aston Martin losing tons of performance relative to their rivals since the new tyres came in Silverstone?
        And now Mclaren being closer to Max who struggled with setup for the first time in the past year?

        You bet I can blame Pirelli for all this.

        1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
          23rd July 2023, 10:57

          AM hardly shone in Austria either, they’ve just failed to build on their strong start. McLaren and Mercedes have brought monster upgrades the last few races and have overtaken them for it.
          Still can’t match RB however!

        2. Honestly mclaren already looked good in austria, they were up there with merc: yes, red bull was and is still uncatchable in the race, and yes, ferrari was the clear 2nd fastest in austria, but it was still a good result by mclaren, so they were already on the rise and the upgrades helped.

    2. Abies de Wet
      23rd July 2023, 11:07

      Ha Ha Ha

  2. I guess it was only a matter of time before the rivals started catching them up, but I also agree that such major changes midseason are not right. Reminds me of 2013.

  3. I liked the one compound per quali round, but not just randomly springing new construction on teams.

  4. BoP without actually calling it BoP.

    1. If that’s what it is, it’s not working, verstappen is still winning races by 30 sec.

      1. Please explain Aston Martin and McLaren performance. Thank you.

  5. It really doesn’t explain Aston Martin’s drift away from the front. I suppose it must rankle that Alonso was expecting to be a contender this season but it’s Hamilton who finally beat Verstappen (in qualifying at least). There’s always some factor at work for Alonso to explain why Alonso is not doing as well as expected, but it’s always the same: in the end, ever since 2007, just not quite delivering. While others do.

    1. Fanatics are always funny to read. Hamilton barely beat Verstappen only once this year and he’s a contender already. What?

      I wonder what would you say about, for example, Hamilton not winning in 2010. The guy had the car and advantage. Then somehow he lost 50 points in two races. Just not quite delivered, right? Or was it the car? Same in 2016. Dominant car, one competitor. Same two years ago. Had a chance, but cracked under pressure multiple times. Same last year, when a newcomer beats him fair and square. Somehow Hamilton gets a real competition and fails to deliver. Or rather not, just the car didn’t suit his liking, as any his fanatic would say.

      PS: Please, always remember to ignore the car. If Alonso never had a dominant car, “he is not quite delivering”. When other’s have a dominant car – Vettel, Hamilton, Verstappen – then “they are quite delivering (providing there’s no real competition)”.

      1. Same two years ago.

        Please don’t reference 2021 as anything other than a theft.
        The race was won, the WDC was won, then the race director changed the rules.

        Hamilton isn’t a contender, but unless RBR tweak the car pre-race, and Max does a way better start than his recent form, he’s likely to be 4th before the end of the first lap.

        1. Without masi’s intervention, 2021 would NOT be a fair victory for hamilton, would be as deserved as 2016 for rosberg, as in the other driver deserved more, they only won\would’ve won because the other driver got more mechanical\puncture issues.

      2. You obviously are a anti Ham fanatic. Who said Ham is a contender, while RBR still has a major car advantage?

        1. You obviously are a anti Ham fanatic.

          Anti-Hamilton? Anti?


          BTW. I note that, like me, correspondents here think Max’s threat is “the two orange blobs” in his mirrors on the grid.
          In an ideal world, that competition would allow a nice getaway by Lewis, but nothing in this world is ever ideal.

      3. I’ll make it simple: I think Alonso has immense talent but isn’t as fast as some of the fastest (ever) over one lap, including Verstappen and Hamilton, and is also inclined to be a bit too cerebral and cautious when other drivers (including the latter two) are more inclined to make wins happen by seizing chances with less favourable odds. It’s not something that’s evident in any single race – where caution or a lack of aggression can be seen as justified given the car, conditions etc. – but over a career it becomes more visible and significant. I also think the less cautious approach ultimately inspires more confidence and fight in the team as a whole.
        If you really want to take issue with the achievements of a 7-times champion, feel free. But I never said Hamilton was a contender – the opposite in fact, grabbing pole was never going to be followed by a race win, that was clear from the long stint times in practice.

        1. I think alonso’s top weakness is that he’s not as good at developing cars, if you can blame that on the driver ofc, I’m not sure; either that or he’s unlucky with the cars he get, cause hamilton got plenty of years in a dominant car, alonso barely even had the best car the years he won the title, and the 2012 ferrari example was nowhere.

        2. gets*

  6. I doubt

  7. This isn’t the first time where Pirelli stepped in to influence the pecking order. The year, Lotus with Kimi were ahead, Pirelli introduced a new compound mid season.

    1. Indeed, I really don’t like pirelli and this is one of the reasons; they said they did it for safety in the past, I give it a 1% chance to be true.

  8. Seems a bit of a stretch to me. AM has been gradually dropping into the midfield since others came out with improvements to their cars far before these tyres were brought in. And maybe Red Bull just didn’t quite tune their significant upgrade in due to limited running on Friday.

  9. The old Alonso is back

  10. I thought they introduced new construction NOT new compounds.
    Either way I don’t like in season changes.
    Maybe new constructions help those who had less than helpful rears.
    Who knows.

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