Aston Martin have huge aspirations and ambitions for their Formula One future. In April Aston will move into the first phase of their new £200m Silverstone based facility that will host the teams that design and produce their F1 racing cars.
At a recent media event in November, team principal Mike Krack described the new state of the art facility as a “game changer” and told reporters he believed it would be the “best facility in F1.”
Alonso first drive as an Aston Martin F1 driver
You could argue Aston Martin has a blind spot in the direction of team owner’s son Lance Stroll, who is a solid but not spectacular F1 driver. Whether this will hamper “the project” or not is a question for the future but the recruitment of Fernando Alonso is a clear statement of intent by the senior management at Aston Martin F1.
Alonso completed his first drive as an Aston Martin on Tuesday driving the green liveried 2022 competitor in a Pirelli test in Jerez. Whilst Alonso drove the same Aston Martin car in the post season test in Abu Dhabi, he was on loan from Alpine and both car and driver were without sponsors or livery.
While the 2023 car won’t see the track until the pre-season test in Bahrain until two weeks time, Fernando will have been able to understand the philosophy of the Aston Martin ground force designed car and how it differs from the Alpine he drove for two seasons.
Fernando ‘happily surprised’ with the car compared to Alpine
Sharing the day in Jerez with Lance Stroll will have given Alonso the opportunity to get more miles under his belt before the shortest ever pre-season test in Bahrain where each driver will get just a day and a half.
Fernando’s feedback following the first Aston drive back in Abu Dhabi was, “It was a happy surprise that I felt OK with the Aston Martin system and we don’t need to change much.”
The Spaniard was particularly delighted because he said it had taken 5 months at Alpine to fine tune the steering.
Alonso was also impressed with the Mercedes power unit and having been dogged by reliability problems in his Alpine was at first concerned when Aston told him the age of the engine.
Alonso praises Mercedes power unit
“When they told me the mileage of the engine yesterday night, I was concerned,” said Alonso.
“I said that number is a little bit high for my [Alpine] standards.
“But, we did 97 laps no problem, so it is outstanding.”
Speaking to Spanish media outlet Marca after his first day on track as an Aston Martin F1 driver, Fernando was exuberant saying, “I am ready for the next challenge.
“It is a very special opportunity for me with this team and I see this project as a winner.”
Fernando will rock the boat at Aston
Previously Aston Martin’s senior management has been known to be a little ‘fragile’ when criticised, though by recruiting Fernando Alonso they will surely known the Spaniard will be demanding and create friction from time to time as he attempts to drive the project forward from a driver’s perspective.
For a midfield team launching a B-Spec car in Barcelona last year, Aston Martin recovered extremely well from their poor early season form.
Their battle which saw them tied at the end of the year with Alfa Romeo would have been easily won had the car been ready from race 1 and had Lance Stroll picked up a similar amount of points to Sebastian Vettel.
Final test for Lance Stroll
The unknown is how Alonso will react if Aston are way behind his old team Alpine and McLaren given the Spanish driver became used scoring points in all but 2 of the races he completed last year.
Of further interest will be how Lance Stroll deals with Alonso on track, given they will be driving the same machinery and for the Canadian his relative performance to Fernando is the biggest indicator to how good he really is.
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We are back. #f1 pic.twitter.com/oK6bfbG5WB
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) July 8, 2020