We chose to ‘throw the sprint race away’ with soft tyre strategy, says Alonso

Formula 1

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Fernando Alonso said Aston Martin chose to sacrifice their results in today’s sprint race in Qatar to improve their chances in tomorrow’s Grand Prix.

With the FIA considering whether to force drivers to make three pit stops in Sunday’s race due to fears over tyre failures, teams are preparing for the possibility of needing more sets of tyres than they originally planned for.

Several drivers therefore started today’s sprint race on the soft tyre compound, ensuring they would have more sets of the medium and hard tyres for the 57-lap grand prix. Alonso, who qualified ninth for the sprint race after his best time in the earlier qualifying session was deleted for a track limits infringement, said Aston Martin decided it was better to prioritise their chances in the Grand Prix.

“We had to throw one race away,” he said. “We throw this one and not tomorrow.”

“We don’t know what will be the strategy tomorrow,” Alonso explained. “So we have to cover all the scenarios and we have to throw away one race. We decided today that starting P9 it was just possible, maybe one or two points, and it was not worth the risk.”

Despite their decision, Alonso scored a point for eighth place in the race. He moved up to eighth position after the chequered flag when Charles Leclerc was penalised for repeatedly exceeding track limits.

He will start the grand prix from fourth on the grid and is hopeful of a stronger result.

“I think the weekend has been spectacular so far,” he said. “So I don’t think that we need to pray for points.

“We’ve been in the top four or five for every session, every lap we did. So if we keep doing this job tomorrow we will be in the top five at the end of the race. That will be the aim.”

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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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15 comments on “We chose to ‘throw the sprint race away’ with soft tyre strategy, says Alonso”

  1. So the race today, so much about different tyres and safety cars, was pretty fake wasn’t it

    1. nobody gives a crap about Sprint and Russell was discussing a pitstop mid-race lol. Would’ve been left with only worn tyres for the real race because of a handful of points.

      1. Russell’s request to pit 6 laps before the finish of a sprint race was hilarious. It made no sense at all. Both him and Hamilton regularly have their whiny moments. To think that Britain used to produce drivers like Nigel Mansell… /sigh/

        1. You joking? Wasn’t Nigel Mansell the whiniest driver ever?

          1. I was (I guess I still am) a BIG Nige fan…… but yes, he had his whiny moments.

            (I am unsure I would agree with “whiniest driver ever” but as I have no alternate to put forward at this point I’m not going to debate it).

        2. Oh no, what a shame they only now produce 7 time world champions…..but we all know what your problem with Lewis is.

          1. Six, and with an asterisk;)

  2. Based on the title, It’s fair to assume that those that used soft today, they will go M>H>M. And for those who used Medium today they will go for M > H > H .

    This may give good wheel to wheel action tomorrow, especially since it seems that it takes a bit to warm up the tires.

    1. We can expect a bunch of accidents and safety cars. The softs may come into play.

    2. They have to pit three times..
      So four set of tires

  3. Team and driver not even bothering to try and go for the optimal result in the sprint cause it will compromise the real race.

    Racing! /s

    1. notagrumpyfan
      8th October 2023, 9:56

      Tyre and fuel strategies.
      Also when to bring upgrades.

      Important parts of racing indeed.

  4. Alonso, who qualified ninth for the sprint race …

    “We’ve been in the top four or five for every session, every lap we did.”

    Never change, Fernando, never change.

    1. he had p5 pace in sprint quali so he is right

      1. MichaelN hates Alonso. It’s pretty amusing. He sometimes even makes up fake stats for him.

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