Aston Martin stunned the paddock with its promising pace during winter testing, which was confirmed in the Bahrain Grand Prix as Alonso scored a podium on his first race for the Silverstone-based team.
The season opener at Sakhir showed that Aston, which finished seventh in the 2022 Constructors’ Championship, has bridged the gap from the midfield to the frontrunners and that it can realistically challenge Mercedes for third.
While Alonso was curious to see if Aston’s headline-grabbing form carries over to Saudi Arabia and Australia, he said he was confident his new team could keep up development throughout the year because it started with what he called a “basic car” for Bahrain.
“Sure, we need to wait for Jeddah, Australia, very different tracks, so I’m curious to see if we can keep this form in different circuits,” Alonso said. “But, on the other hand, I think the car that we have now is just a very basic car that we launched and we start the season with this completely new concept.
“I think there is a lot more to come in terms of development with this project, so I’m optimistic for that.”
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd position, the Aston Martin team celebrate after the race
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
After hitting what technical director Dan Fallows called aggressive aero targets over the winter, team principal Mike Krack was encouraged his team could start developing from a strong baseline.
Aston also made progress through 2022, but because it started on the back foot its development curve stayed under the radar. In the end, it fell just short of overtaking Alfa Romeo in the constructors’ standings.
“Last year we managed to get better over the season, but we saw also how hard that is, because of the intensity that you have with racing and cost cap, you’re really tight,” Krack said. “You need to start with a good baseline because you cannot afford to spend what you have available just on developing.
“That is also why we went aggressive in the targets that we had for the car. Obviously, it’s not always easy to achieve, but our team has managed great things there.
“It’s much, much easier to develop from this base than to develop from the base we had last year.”
He added: “We have our development plan in place, but the others have a plan in place as well.
“It could well be that if you develop at the same rate you stay where you are, so let’s see where we get…
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