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Fernando Alonso

Alonso hit with pit-lane start after 'very bad day' for Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso has been demoted to start the 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from the pit lane.

Alonso Imola FP2
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Fernando Alonso will start the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix from the pit lane, following suspension changes made by Aston Martin during Parc Fermé.

The two-time world champion endured a miserable Saturday at Imola after crashing in third practice, resulting in a rapid repair job being required by the Silverstone-based team ahead of qualifying. 

Miraculously, Alonso's car was repaired in time for Q1, although the Spaniard failed to progress beyond the opening part of qualifying. Alonso had initially qualified in P19. 

However, in accordance with Article 40.9 of the sporting regulations, Alonso must start from the pit lane following the suspension changes.

The stewards' report read: "Aston Martin Aramco changed the setup of the suspension of Car 14 under Parc Fermé, this not being in accordance with Article 40.9 of the FIA Formula One Sporting
Regulations. Car 14 is therefore required to start the Race from Pit Lane."

A chance to 'gather more data'

Ahead of the pit lane start for Alonso being announced by the FIA, RacingNews365 asked Aston Martin's performance director Tom McCullough about the reasoning behind the suspension changes. 

"It's one of the things we're definitely considering with Fernando obviously," McCullough said. 

"We had a really good Friday, to be honest, we were quite happy with the Friday and then Saturday was a difficult day for us. 

"It was a huge effort by the guys to get the car rebuilt and out. The car was ready four minutes into the session, we just got out. 

"But we're looking at whether we can get more out of the car and learn a bit more, because it's so hard to get anything from the back of the grid here. Start considering whether it's worth for easier bits to gather more data."

Aston Martin has introduced an astonishing nine upgrades at the first race of the European leg of the season, with Friday having been viewed as a positive day by the side. 

However, Saturday could not have gone any worse for the team who are struggling to match RB. 

"It's a relative game, our pace, our long run pace on Friday, we were reasonably happy with the turnout, which we thought would be reasonably difficult for us," added McCullough. 

"But yes, Saturday was a very bad day, really. So we didn't get the most out of it."

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