Alonso ‘happy days’ but interesting F1 period now looms
By Ian Parkes
Monday 10th April, 2023 - 1:08am
Fernando Alonso has declared it to be “happy days” with Aston Martin at present but he is fully aware the F1 landscape could quickly change once racing resumes after the spring break.
For the first time in the history of the Silverstone-based organisation dating back to 1991 when it was founded as Jordan Grand Prix, and through its many guises since then, the team has recorded three successive podium finishes.
There has been the odd victory along the way, even a one-two in Belgium in 1998, and a one-three in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix when the team was then known as Racing Point.
But never has it had the opportunity to celebrate three consecutive podiums with a driver as it has done with Fernando Alonso over the opening trio of races to start the current campaign, with the two-time F1 champion recording a third place on each occasion.
For the first time in Australia, however, Alonso and Aston Martin found themselves behind Mercedes whereas in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia they had the upperhand.
Mercedes took a step forward at Melbourne’s Albert Park with a car that is going through a transitional period ahead of upgrades from Imola onwards the team is particularly bullish about.
Alonso is wary of what the European portion of the season will bring that follows the current spring break and the double-header in Azerbajian and Miami at the end of April, start of May.
“It seems that qualifying is quite important now because race pace is very similar,” said Alonso, in comparing his AMR23 to the W14.
“Now we enter into a part of the season that is going to be very interesting – which team is developing the car faster?
“With the first three races being away from Europe, it’s difficult to bring upgrades and things like that.
“But from now on, maybe we will see the level of the teams changing a little bit, race-by-race, depending on who brings an upgrade that is good enough.”
Aston and Alonso staying humble
In switching from Alpine to Aston Martin over the winter, Alonso has already stated that he never anticipated being in such a lofty position over the first part of the season.
The 41-year-old considered this season to be a platform campaign, building into the type of season next year he is currently experiencing now.
The problem for Aston Martin is it has raised the bar earlier than anticipated, and it somehow has to push on from such a lofty position.
“For us, it’s all happy days at the moment,” said Alonso. “We never expected to be on the podium, maybe even throughout the season, and in three races we have three. So everything that is coming now is a plus.
“We are taking every opportunity, and we need to learn and we need to grow as a team, also maybe now off-track because we are racing against Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, teams that are used to this kind of pace of development and things like that.
“Maybe we are just in a learning process, so we take this 2023 in a very humble manner, and let’s see how it goes.”
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