Fernando Alonso insists there is “a lot more to come” from the new Aston Martin after an impressive pre-season test for the team in Bahrain.
Aston describes the AMR23 as 95% new, giving it a much-changed car to learn about in just the three days of testing this week. Alonso was immediately quick in his new team, finishing third overall on Friday and showing strong high-fuel pace at times, leading rivals to mark Aston Martin out as the fourth-quickest team and with the potential to threaten Mercedes. However, Alonso says the car is far from optimized.
“It was very important and a very nice week for us, finally,” Alonso said. “With the new car we did a filming day at Silverstone but that never feels enough, because there are only eight laps I think that we did there.
“Obviously it is now go time — we need to make the car as fast as possible for next week, Race 1, but we feel like there is a lot more to come from the car that we didn’t have time yet in testing — only three days — but step-by-step the team is working flat out.
“I just jumped out of the car now so I didn’t check times or anything like that, but the car felt good all three days. We’ve been experimenting a little bit with very different routes on setups, and we always found positives on these new routes, so there is a clear indication that we need to change philosophy in many things on this car compared to last year’s car. And that obviously is a concern in a way, because we will need a couple of races to optimize the package.”
Aston Martin’s mileage was relatively low as it ended up eighth of the 10 teams in terms of total laps, but Alonso believes the absence of the injured Lance Stroll was of bigger significance.
“It hurt a lot. I think we miss him because some of my comments and feelings with the car, we never know if it’s just me in a new team and a new car — was it just maybe an Aston Martin thing that Lance could spot: brake pedal feeling, power steering?
“I don’t know if these are legacy things with the team or new in this car, so we cannot do it without him. So I hope he can come (back) very soon.”