Alonso bemoans ‘terrible’ qualifying session
By Mat Coch
Saturday 21st October, 2023 - 10:03pm
Fernando Alonso was bundled out of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix in the first segment for the first time, leading him to describe it as a “terrible session”.
Aston Martin suffered the embarrassment of having both cars eliminated at the first hurdle in qualifying on what was a trying day for the Silverstone-based squad.
Brake problems in opening practice curtailed Lance Stroll’s running, the Canadian managing just five laps in what was the only practice session of the weekend.
It was far from ideal as the team looked to assess developments introduced in Austin, leaving it critically short of data.
To make matters worse, the cars are now in parc ferme conditions meaning their set-up is locked in for the balance of the event.
“It was maximum,” Alonso said of his 17th-place finish in qualifying.
“I think the lap was not ideal, the out lap especially, the traffic was very bad.
“I think I crossed the line within one second of the limit, so I started the lap too close to the cars in front.
“That didn’t help, but the lap felt okay and yeah, the pace was maybe not good enough to be in Q2.”
The two-time world champion suggested the issue stemmed from the way the day unfolded from opening practice.
“We should go back and repeat the day completely, starting from the morning,” he said.
“We had a terrible session, Lance didn’t complete any laps, I did only six or seven quality laps with a new package.
“Too many unknowns in terms of how to operate the package and the new car.
“So I think we went a bit blind into qualifying and obviously we see the results.
“Nothing we can do now, we are in parc ferme,” he added.
“We use this weekend as a test for next year as well, even if they are painful.”
Aston Martin introduced a new floor edge, diffuser, beam wing and engine cover this weekend.
That saw mechanics break curfew at the Circuit of The Americas in order to get the updates fitted as they arrived in Austin late.
It was the second of three allowed exceptions for the year, meaning the team did not face a penalty.