Aston Martin has caught everyone by surprise – Alpine
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 30th March, 2023 - 2:30am
Alpine sporting director Alan Permane feels Aston Martin’s remarkable leap in performance has caught all of its F1 rivals unawares.
The Silverstone-based team has shot to prominence this season with its AMR23 which has powered its way toward becoming the second-quickest car on the grid.
In the first two years of owner Lawrence Stroll’s plan to get his team to the front of the grid and challenging for championships after five seasons, Aston Martin managed just a single podium.
Yet Fernando Alonso has finished third on merit in the first two races of this campaign in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia behind only Red Bull one-twos on each occasion.
Even reigning champion Max Verstappen is convinced the team will win a grand prix this year.
From its own rise to the fourth-best team last season, Alpine now suddenly finds itself behind not only Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, but also Aston Martin.
“Our target was to be closer to third place than fifth place (this season),” said Permane. “That isn’t the case at the moment.
“Actually, it may be because if you say Mercedes is the third quickest team, maybe we’re closer to them than we were last year.
“But it’s not good. We’re the fifth-quickest team at the moment, which is not where we want to be.
“Of course, Aston has caught everyone by surprise with the jump they’ve made. They’ve made a huge leap.
“While it does look like no one is getting close to Red Bull this year. They’ve a second per lap on people, honestly.”
Alpine “need to improve everywhere”
Permane, though, is confident Alpine’s plans will push it into the mix with the four teams ahead of it.
“It’s frustrating,” he added. “We just need to keep working hard, bringing the upgrades, putting the downforce on, which worked very well for us last year. It served as well.
“We brought a lot of stuff last year, we got good correlation, so we can be very confident the parts and upgrades we bring will work and improve the car.
“We just need to improve it at a faster rate than the others do.”
In the hands of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly, the A523 has at least managed a smattering of points, with the latter in the top 10 in both races following his winter move from AlphaTauri.
As to where the car is lacking at the moment, however, Permane said: “I suspect it’s a little bit everywhere.
“Certainly the drivers want a little bit of improvement in braking, they want some better traction.
“There’s no one real area they are really complaining about. It’s just we need to improve everywhere, I’m sure.”
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