Alonso says Aston Martin corrected “a few faults” as improved pace yields fifth

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Fernando Alonso said Aston Martin successfully addressed some of the problems they identified with their car in recent races after scoring his best result since the Canadian Grand Prix.

After climbing from ninth on the grid to finish fifth yesterday, Alonso told media including RaceFans: “I felt definitely more competitive than the last few events.”

Alonso gained places when Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz Jnr tangled at the start. At the time he was concerned he would drop back over the course of the race.

“I was lucky at the start before Eau Rouge, I made a few places there,” said Alonso. “I was a little bit worried we will fall back and the pace will not be good enough to keep that position.

“But it was good, today the car felt fast. We kept one Mercedes behind, one McLaren behind, so we were in the mix and that’s good news before the summer break.”

The mixed conditions over the course of the rain-affected sprint race weekend presented difficult set-up choices for the grand prix, which was expected to remain dry.

“It was not an easy weekend to go into the rhythm and the wet qualifying and the track changing all the time,” said Alonso. “So not much experience on dry.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The variable conditions provided the greatest challenge of the weekend, he said. “More than the wet or dry set-up [it] was the changeable conditions. We never did two laps with the same conditions all through the weekend.”

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Belgian Grand Prix in pictures
Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, Aston Martin admitted they had lost ground to their rivals due to some set-up decisions made with the AMR23. Alonso said the Belgian Grand Prix gives them confidence they have understood where they went wrong.

“The car felt fast today. The guys did an incredible job again on the strategy, also on the pit stops. We made a few places also yesterday even if we didn’t finish the race.

“I think today the car felt more normal. We had a few faults after Hungary, after Silverstone, so the team was making a few set-up changes also to the car and I think it paid off today. The car felt much more normal, more competitive, so happy and a good boost for summer.”

Lance Stroll, who started alongside Alonso on the fifth row of the grid and finished four places behind him in ninth, agreed the team had made some gains with its car.

“We made some little mods to the car which definitely helped,” he said. “But I think we still really have to keep pushing because we’re still not as quick as we want to be.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Alonso says Aston Martin corrected “a few faults” as improved pace yields fifth”

  1. The fans want to make improvements from Red Bull competitors and want to see some competition at the top. Hopefully, teams will make good upgrades in the summer break and provide some competition to Red Bull in the remaining 10 races of this season.

    1. I lost my hope on that this year, it’s already a lot if they don’t do a clean sweep of victories, on pace looks like they will.

  2. I’m not sure Alonso is correct here. Sainz would have finished ahead of him if not for the first corner and the questionable setup choice on the Mclarens would have probably had them finished ahead on a normal weekend. Plus Russell having a very poor qualfying put him behind Alonso so all in they’d have likely come in 9th and he was a long way of Hamilton and Leclerc’s pace. They’ve gone from being faster on race pace than Ferrari and Mercedes to an average of half a second a lap slower. Maybe he’s just saying the pace was even worse at Hungary and Silverstone….

    1. Agreed. Their pace deficit to Ferrari and Mercedes was worrying.
      Russel hold on to Alonso on way older tyres and Stroll was nowhere. If not for the first corner incident and Norris’ strange first half of the race they would be exactly where they had been the last races.

      1. Yes, unimpressed by aston’s development.

    2. Agree. At the start of the season Aston would finish more than 10 seconds in front of the lead Ferrari or Mercedes. Now, he’s finishing nearly 20 seconds down on the lead Ferrari or Mercedes. They’ve taken steps backwards, but this weekend it was disguised by some bad luck for Sainz and a poor quali for Russell. As you mentioned, Mclaren got their setup wrong for the race, or else they would still be the 5th fastest team.

      I think the jig is up at Aston. They had a good start to the season, but will be nowhere close to that form for the rest of the this season and the next.

      1. Maybe they won’t be as competitive as hoped after the start of the season, but I see zero reason to think that they won’t be competitive next season let alone that the jig is up because of a period of weak performance. McLaren was nowhere for how long and then all of a sudden they came good. Since the new regs, Merc seems to start weak and then always improve quickly. Ferrari is seemingly nowhere half the time and then kind of competitive. Besides RBR, there’s absolutely no teams that have shown consistently positive progress.

        Among the front, Ferrari, Renault/Alpine and McLaren have spent years getting it wrong. I see no reason to bet on those teams above AM, especially when the last piece of their new infrastructure comes online: the wind tunnel, but agonizingly that’s not until next summer. However, the rest of their new, billion dollar infrastructure has come line and they’ve poached countless great engineers and Newey’s aero lieutenant. Meanwhile, it’s all change and chaos at Alpine and Ferrari.

        If AM do blow it, it’ll be such a frustrating shame as it will mean Fernando spent 85% of his career in useless machinery.

        1. McLaren was nowhere for how long and then all of a sudden they came good. Since the new regs, Merc seems to start weak and then always improve quickly.

          Which is why I think its more confidence inspiring for a team to improve as the season goes on. That shows a stronger understanding of the car, and the ability to develop and address those issues. Starting the season strong and then not being able to find a development path, shows that the team doesn’t have the capability to develop on a strong baseline.

          We’ve seen teams like Haas and Racing point do this in the past, where they start a season with a good car and then just move backwards. The following season they are nowhere. AM might have the facilities and infra in place from next season onwards, but they still don’t have the legacy of the top teams in developing consistently to become genuine challengers. I still think AM can fight for P4 in the WCC consistently, but they’ll never be title contenders.

Comments are closed.