Alonso "much more optimistic" about Aston Martin after first run with team

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Alonso "much more optimistic" about Aston Martin after first run with team

Formula 1

Alonso "much more optimistic" about Aston Martin after first run with team

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Fernando Alonso says he is “much more optimistic” about the performance of the Aston Martin car after making his debut for the team during the Abu Dhabi test.

All 10 F1 teams have been able to run two cars each at the Yas Marina Circuit, where 2023 tires were being tested and teams were each required to run one rookie driver.

At Aston Martin, Felipe Drugovich carried out young driver duties while Alonso completed 97 laps before handing over to Lance Stroll, and after being able to compare his new team’s car to the Alpine he raced at the weekend, the Spaniard was impressed.

“I’m much more optimistic now,” Alonso said. “When I signed for Aston I was 90% happy, when they started improving and finished the season on a high I was 100, this morning I was 100, now I’m 100 plus.

“I was happily surprised about everything, but this year’s car is not near what we will run next year, so it’s not that it is going to be a continuation of this car.

“For sure they had a very strong weekend here – Sebastian qualifying in front of me – so I don’t think there was much of a difference between Aston and Alpine on the weekend. I felt basically the same as well – a very competitive car – both Astons in the points, so it was a good car.”

After nearly reaching 100 laps and setting the third-quickest time at the point he handed the car over, Alonso believes he won’t need long to feel at home in the Aston Martin, although was left with some pain from his seat that will need refitting over the winter.

“It is very useful, and when you have a comparison two days ago – same circuit, same conditions – it’s wonderful, as you can spot many things,” he said. “We can talk about the balance and talk with the team, but we hope next year the car is going to be completely different.

“The car was behaving well. We had some concerns on the steering feedback as at Alpine the first year; we had to work a lot for nearly five months on steering assistance and feedback.

“We had some concerns that we spoke about the last few weeks, so it was a happy surprise that I felt OK with Aston’s system and we don’t need to change much.

“It is always an extra challenge when you change teams, because you need to get used to new people, new ways of working, new philosophies, but at the end of the day what counts is the timed lap on track. I think the first run I did 26.6, 0.3s off my best time, so the adaptation is nearly over.”

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