Alonso deeply unhappy at Aston Martin – The Formula 1 season is well underway with the usual twists and turns, triumphs and tribulations. Among the drivers battling for the sharp end is veteran Fernando Alonso, representing Aston Martin.
The experienced Spaniard has seen his fair share of ups and downs in the 2023 season including the recent events surrounding Alonso’s frustrations at Singapore. Friend and fellow Aston Martin colleague Pedro de la Rosa explains.
Alonso’s season so far: Ups and downs
Fernando Alonso, a name synonymous with Formula 1 glory, certainly in the first two decades of his career, has had a season of contrasts. At the start of the 2023 campaign, he demonstrated his abilities in a decent car with five podiums in the first six races. However, his momentum has waned over the next nine races, culminating in an unexpected 15th place finish at the Singapore Grand Prix.
This decline also saw him slip behind Lewis Hamilton in the race for a coveted top three position in the Drivers’ Championship. The Spaniard is not a happy bunny.
The Singapore Grand Prix: a turning point
The Singapore Grand Prix was a pivotal moment in Alonso’s season. It was here that the veteran driver publicly expressed his dissatisfaction, a rare display of emotion and frustration.
“This is undriveable!” the 42-year-old exclaimed during the race, highlighting the challenges he faced on the demanding Marina Bay Street Circuit in a car that was simply not working well on the Pirelli.
Alonso’s concerns were not only personal, but emblematic of Aston Martin’s struggles throughout the weekend. Team-mate Lance Stroll’s retirement after a qualifying crash compounded the team’s difficulties and added to Alonso’s frustration.
For a team that seems to now only ever have one driver who can actually get anything out of their car, Alonso – Aston Martin must be now thinking about retiring the team owners’ son, Lance Stroll. Or risk losing the talent that is Alonso.
Pedro de la Rosa’s intervention
In the aftermath of the difficult weekend in Singapore, Pedro de la Rosa, a former F1 driver with over 100 race starts to his name, stepped in as an Aston Martin ambassador and cover off Alonso’s public frustrations.
De la Rosa recognised the significance of the team’s recent struggles, but remained optimistic about the overall competitiveness of the season.
Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, the 52-year-old highlighted the unfortunate series of events that have contributed to Alonso’s frustrations and emphasised the need for flawless weekends in the fiercely competitive world of Formula One.
“We had a terrible shunt, Lance [Stroll] is recovering, but it was also difficult for the team. Then in the race itself, one thing after another conspired against us,” explained De la Rosa. Despite these challenges, he insisted that the team was not far off the pace and would have scored more points had circumstances been more favourable.
“I don’t think we were that far off. We would have finished higher in the points had everything gone as planned. But you know, this is motor racing and you have to have perfect weekends if you want to finish in the top six.” said de la Rosa.
Looking ahead: The Japanese Grand Prix
As the Formula One calendar moves on, the Aston Martin team now turn their attention to the Japanese Grand Prix. With Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz taking victory in Singapore, Aston Martin lost ground in the standings. Fernando Alonso and the team will be looking to bounce back at Suzuka and improve on his predecessor Sebastian Vettel’s sixth place finish last year.
Max Verstappen’s dominance acknowledged
Ahead of the Singapore race, Fernando Alonso took a moment to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of Max Verstappen, the dominant force in the 2023 Drivers’ Championship. Verstappen’s ability to consistently secure podium finishes has earned him the top spot.
Recognising the complexity of such dominance in professional sport, Alonso highlighted the challenge of achieving the elusive connection with the car that is essential for peak performance.
In Alonso’s words, “To win in such a dominant way in any professional sport is so complicated”.
He shared insights into the driver’s constant pursuit of excellence and the inherent belief that there’s always room for improvement.
Verstappen’s consistent excellence, Alonso noted, sets him apart in a sport where self-confidence and self-criticism are ever-present. Just look at Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“It is underestimated sometimes what Max is achieving,” Alonso said.
“To win in such a dominant manner in any professional sport, it is so complicated. Obviously, drivers in general, we have a lot of self-confidence, so I do believe I can do good as well.
“But you need to enter in a mood, in a state, where you are connected with a car. Days like [the Dutch GP], I felt that I was at my best and gave 100 percent of what I felt, and my abilities, in a racing car, but maybe in Spa (Belgian GP) I was not at that level, or in Austria, or something like that.
“So you always feel there is room to improve, and you are not 100 per cent happy with yourself. I think Max is achieving that 100 percent more often than any of the drivers, so that’s why he’s dominating.”
Aston Martin keen to impress Honda
As the 2023 Formula One season unfolds, Fernando Alonso’s journey with Aston Martin is one of frustration and determination. The Singapore Grand Prix highlighted the challenges facing Alonso and the team and certainly underlines their big issue of being only really a one driver team. Constructors points are haemorrhaging like no tomorrow.
With the Japanese Grand Prix on the horizon, Alonso and Aston Martin are looking to write a new chapter, using their strengths and experience to impress Honda whose Suzuka track is the company-owned test facility. Aston Martin will be running Honda engines in 2026 as the Japanese works team.
Whether they can recapture their early-season form remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the unpredictable world of Formula One never fails to deliver excitement and intrigue and some amusing Alonso radio messages of frustration.
GP2 engine anyone?
Vettel 🆚 Alonso
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 20, 2023
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The 2023 Formula One silly season has been nothing but a damp squib. The driver market has thus far been utterly predictable with Mercedes retaining both Hamilton and Russell, Haas indicating they will make no changes and Ferrari and Aston Martin have drivers with contracts through to 2025.
McLaren have Lando Norris locked in for two more seasons and new boy Oscar Piastri is expected to receive a contract extension with the papaya liveried team…. READ MORE ON THIS STORY