Fifth in points for Aston Martin ‘hurts because we were better than that’ – Alonso

Formula 1

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Aston Martin deserved to finish higher than fifth in the constructors’ championship said Fernando Alonso after the team failed to overhaul McLaren for fourth place in Formula 1’s season finale.

The team finished two places higher than they managed last year and beat their 2022 score by a massive 225 points. But they began the season in an even stronger position before slipping back.

Aston Martin held second place in the championship over the first six races. They slipped back into the clutches of Mercedes and Ferrari as the season progress, but were still fourth after 13 races, with 104 points in hand over McLaren.

But McLaren’s strong progress in the second half of the year meant they overtook Aston Martin just six races later. They went into the final race separated by 11 points but Aston Martin were unable to overhaul them.

“Fifth in the constructors, it hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that,” Alonso admitted after the race in response to a question from RaceFans. “We were hoping better than that at the beginning of the year.”

He finished fourth in the drivers’ championship, seven places ahead of team mate Lance Stroll.

“To finish fourth is a little bit of unreal, fighting with the guys that we were fighting,” Alonso said. “In fact, if we are fifth in the constructors’, normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers’. So it’s a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself.”

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Despite his disappointment at the team’s final finishing position, Alonso hailed the progress Aston Martin made in his first season since joining them.

“It has been a historic season for Aston Martin and for myself,” he said. “Eight podiums, more than 200 points, I think 300 points nearly for the team – 12 months ago, this was unthinkable.”

Alonso scored the same number of points as Charles Leclerc, but was classified ahead of him as he had more third-place finishes in grands prix: five to the Ferrari driver’s three. However the two-times world champion said his finishing position in the standings was “not that big a deal”.

“Actually, when I saw Leclerc P2 on the big screen, I thought that he was in front,” said Alonso. “But apparently we tied on points and he had more third places or something like that. So I don’t know.

“As I said, this is completely unexpected, completely unreal to be fourth in the championship: 2012 and this season for me are the best in my career and a position that I could never imagine at the beginning of the year or with the car performance we had.”

Stroll praised his team mate’s performance and said Aston Martin need to avoid a repeat of their mid-season slump next year.

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“He’s had an incredible season, for sure,” said Stroll. “All those podiums and just been super-strong all year and really capitalised when the car was at its best.

“As a team I think just we lost out of a bit in the second half of the season for a big chunk. Teams that we were quicker than – McLaren, even Mercedes, Ferrari – we were quicker than them a lot of those races, they picked up their game and finished the season stronger than us.

“So I think next year try and come out with a car that’s very strong again out of the box and then try and maintain that throughout the season a little bit stronger. I think that’s the goal.”

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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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16 comments on “Fifth in points for Aston Martin ‘hurts because we were better than that’ – Alonso”

  1. You were better than that for sure Fernando.
    The team is probably better than 5th.
    I think everyone with even a passing interest in F1 knows what the problem is.

    1. Nice how Alonso made sure he pointed that out very clearly multiple times, @nullapax, in a relatively subtle way. :)

      Fifth in the constructors, it hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that.

      In fact, if we are fifth in the constructors’, normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers.

      Eight podiums, more than 200 points, I think 300 points nearly for the team.

  2. Aston should have been third or even second. They had the upgrades that ruined the advantage they had from the start of the season.

    And then the elephant in the room…Lance just isn’t good enough and certainly cost the team points.

    1. The writing was on the wall last Dec/Jan (LONG BEFORE the Honda deal) when the relationship between Lawrence Stroll and “Mercedes” soured.
      AM would begin where they would and decline as the season progressed.

  3. As everyone knows, the problem is identified by only two words.

    Lance, and Stroll.

    1. But two words: Lawrence and Stroll were what gave the team the option to be 5th or higher

      1. If he cared about the team, and indeed his investment, he’d sack his son and allow the rest of the team to rise to where they deserve to be with his involvement.

        Having his son waste the second seat is making him look very silly.

  4. Overall I’m not sure that Aston Martin was that much better than McLaren (if at all) if we look at the whole season. I think it is evenly split between Aston Martin and McLaren which team qualified ahead of the other.

    Lance pulled them down a bit, but Alonso often got more out the car than expected.

    1. Aston Martin started out the season as the 2nd best team.

      McLaren finished the season as the 2nd best team.

      In between Ferrari was the 2nd best team, yet in the end Mercedes managed to snatch the 2nd in the WCC somehow ahead of all of them…

  5. I kinda disagree with Alonso here. Aston started out with the second best car overall for the first 8 races, but then fell away badly to 5th or worse for the next 11 races (with the possible exception of Netherlands where they looked decent, but in mixed conditions), then coming back a bit for the last 3 races to be somewhat in the mix. I think McLaren were slightly better over the year, being poor only until the 9th race, but then often being 2nd best after that with only 1 less competitive race in Monza. Meanwhile, Mercedes and Ferrari spent almost all of the season hovering between 2nd and 4th fastest, being almost always ahead of either McLaren at the start, or Aston at the end. In the end, I felt that all the teams finished where they should in the constructors’ championship, though that’s not to distract from how much Lance underperfomed throughout the season.

    1. (with the possible exception of Netherlands where they looked decent, but in mixed conditions),

      ‘Possible’ is the key word here

      Rain is a great equalizer, and Fred can be a consummate rainmaster (watch the first lap of Hungary 2016, best lap in F1 history with 11 overtakes). The AM was not up to par at Zandvoort, but Fred was.

    2. It was really evenly split between Aston and Mclaren in terms of car performance over the entire season. Aston was quicker in 9 races as compared to Mclaren. Its only in race 10 (Austria) where things turned around for Mclaren

      In the next 13 races, Mclaren was quicker in 11 races, with Aston quicker in 2 – Zandvoort and Brazil. Overall, there was nothing to choose between the two teams in terms of performance over the entire season. The only setback for Aston was Lance Stroll.. who finished nearly 20 points off Piastri in the standings. Alonso and Norris were neck and neck towards the end, with Alonso outscoring Lando by a point.

  6. Stroll has 7 seasons under his name and finished with less points than Piastri on a similarly competitive car.

    Alonso beat Norris by 6 points. So we know where to point fingers.

    Ferrari and Mercedes were stronger in general, with way less disastrous weekends, they were not Aston’s fight.

  7. I don’t know, I think 5th is a fair reflection overall. On the one hand they built an amazing car for the start of the season despite all expectations, but then they pretty much completely failed in developing their car during 2023, maybe more so than any other team on the grid. And of course they would’ve been better than 5th anyway if Lance hadn’t been sleepwalking through the majority of the season, but hey that’s what Aston are choosing to go with so that’s on them.

    1. Yes, in the end stroll rather than an ok performing perez (not this season’s perez) made the difference, it cost aston 4th place, but like I said earlier on this season, 2nd and 3rd were not in their range with that car development.

  8. If they’re brought Vettel back after Lance took a dive off his bike, and then kept him there for the season to give baby boy every opportunity to ‘recover properly’, Aston would likely have been in a 3 way battle for second in the championship at the last race.
    But 5th is the penalty for letting the owners son pursue his racing hobby at the highest level of professional motorsport.

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