Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit of the Americas, 2023

Alonso defends Aston Martin’s “risky” upgrade decision despite “painful” weekend

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Aston Martin made the right decision to bring an extensive upgrade for its car this weekend despite only having a single hour of practice to test it, says Fernando Alonso.

The team endured a difficult start to its weekend in Austin as both drivers pitted early in practice due to braking problems. Alonso was able to return to the track but team mate Lance Stroll could not and therefore covered just five laps before qualifying.

Alonso said the team believe they would have been able to make more progress with their car at a regular race weekend with three practice sessions.

“We think so, or we want to think so because obviously with more free practice, you have time to test many different combinations of set-ups and many different ways of optimising the new package,” he said.

“It was a bit risky to bring maybe the upgrades to a sprint format. You rely so much on a perfect FP1 with two cars doing different tests between the two, and we had a very chaotic FP1. Since that moment, I think we are on the back foot.”

He said the team hopes to make more progress with its car at the next round in Mexico, which is not a sprint race weekend.

“We’ll go to Mexico soon, we have three practice [sessions], we’ll test many things in the car and we feel hopefully more competitive. It is painful this one.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Both AMR23s failed to progress beyond the first stage in qualifying for the grand prix on Friday. Alonso’s previously unbroken run of reaching Q3 at every round this year came to an end.

Alonso and Stroll will start today’s grand prix 17th and 19th respectively. They qualified higher up for yesterday’s sprint race but were unable to score points.

“The frustration was not really increasing in the race because we’ve been a little bit on the same page the whole weekend,” Alonso reflected.

“We’ve been uncompetitive in FP1, uncompetitive in qualifying and no different in the sprint race. The car is in parc ferme since FP1 and maybe we have not optimised in terms of setup.”

However Alonso believes bringing the upgrade to this weekend was worth the risk as he doubted he would have scored points with the car in its previous specification, despite having done so in the sprint race and grand prix in Qatar.

“If you look back to the weekend, for sure you [would] wait one more race. But, it’s not that the previous package was fast enough to guarantee places in the top 10.

“We were struggling already for a few months, so the whole factory is working flat-out to deliver this package to Austin and you cannot say in the last moment, ‘okay, we wait for Mexico’ because everyone is working day and night to bring new parts.

“So I think the biggest problem we had was FP1, too many problems in FP1 that we need to address and we need to make sure that that’s going to happen.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 United States Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 United States 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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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