Brazil performance much-needed relief for Aston Martin

Improved pace in Brazil has offered some much needed relief for those at Aston Martin. Image: Batchelor / XPB Images

Improved pace in Brazil has offered some much-needed relief for those at Aston Martin. Image: Batchelor / XPB Images

Fernando Alonso has suggested the improved performance of Aston Martin so far at this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix has offered some much-needed relief.

After a bright start to the year, Aston Martin’s fortunes have flagged as others have introduced developments.

Where it was clearly second best at the opening round in Bahrain, it now sits fifth in the constructors’ championship.

On top of that is the fact the team looked somewhat lost with its most recent update, which saw Alonso revert to an old-spec floor in the United States Grand Prix.

In Brazil this weekend, the team looks to have rediscovered its earlier season form with Alonso third on the grid for tomorrow’s race, and team-mate Lance Stroll alongside him in fourth.

The pair were unable to replicate that effort in the Sprint Shootout, Alonso’s cause not helped by Esteban Ocon getting out of shape late on Shootout 1 and collecting the two-time world champion.

However, both Alonso and Stroll raced forward from 15th and 17th on the grid respectively to take the flag in 11th and 12th.

When considered alongside Friday’s qualifying performance, it bodes well for Sunday’s grand prix.

“It was promising,” Alonso said of the Saturday Sprint.

“Definitely we have to execute a good race tomorrow without any mistakes – hopefully a good start with the strategy so we can go through the first couple of laps without any incident.

“Let’s see the pace. If it’s good enough to finish in the top five, top six, we’ll take it.

“I definitely think we are more competitive,” he added on his confidence in the car this weekend.

“We are a little happier with the car, we seem more competitive as well since FP1, so some extra confidence into the race tomorrow.”

Alonso last scored points at the Qatar Grand Prix, while his last podium – his seventh of 2023 after managing six in the opening eight races – came at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Aston Martin meanwhile has had just three points-paying results since the Singapore Grand Prix, where Stroll was withdrawn following his heavy qualifying crash.

In that period, all four teams above it in the constructors’ championship have recorded at least one podium finish.

It highlights the battle Aston Martin has faced in recent races.

“I think especially after this race, we have some kind of relief, some weight out of the shoulders,” Alonso said of the Sao Paulo Sprint.

“It’s a good boost for everyone in the factory, and we really needed this type of performance here in Brazil.

“If we had another weekend struggling maybe that was a little bit worrying, but we always kept pragmatic and doing some tests, some experiments, even if they were painful.

“Hopefully we have a lot of data now to analyse everything.

“It was hard because the triple race now obviously put a lot of stress on everyone,” he added of the triple-header that started in the United States.

“It’s difficult to analyse data, it’s difficult to go back to the factory and reunite everyone, but the team was always working flat out to solve the problems and to find solutions.

“This performance here in Brazil is going in the right direction.”

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