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Fernando Alonso

Alonso: Upgrade 'risk' not reason behind Aston Martin Austin slump

The team has suffered a poor weekend, with both cars out of the points in the Sprint and near the back for the Grand Prix.

Alonso US
To news overview © XPBimages

Fernando Alonso feels Aston Martin was right to bring its big upgrade to the United States Grand Prix, despite the "risk" of it being a Sprint weekend.

When the alternative F1 format is in use, drivers and teams only have a single 60 minute practice session to set their cars up before they enter parc ferme conditions for the start of qualifying on Friday.

Major set-up changes are then banned for the remainder of the weekend, making it important to hit the ground running in the practice session, with two-thrids less time available to evaluate new parts as in a normal Grand Prix weekend.

It is for this reason some teams do not bring big upgrades to Sprint races as a bad practice can have major ramifications for the rest of the weekend.

Aston Martin brought a big package to Austin, but brake problems limited the team's running in the sole practice, with both cars out in Q1 in Grand Prix qualifying while it was a non-score in the Sprint.

Despite the upgrade risk, Alonso is sure this is not at the heart of the problems the AMR23 has faced.

Alonso on Aston slump

"The frustration was not really increasing in the race because we've been on the same page, the whole weekend," Alonso told media including RacingNews365.

"We were uncompetitive in FP1, in qualifying and in the Sprint. The car as been in parc ferme since FP1 and maybe we are not optimised in terms of set-up.

"We want to think [it would be better on a normal weekend] with more free practice you have the time to test many different combination of setups and different ways of optimising the new package.

"It was also a bit risky to bring the upgrades to a Sprint weekend as you rely so much on a perfect FP1 with two cars doing different tests between the two.

"We had a very chaotic FP1 and since then have been on the backfoot.

"It's not like the previous package was fast enough to guarantee places in the top 10, we have been struggling for months and the whole factory is working flat out to deliver this package for Austin.

"You cannot say at the last moment: 'Okay, we will wait for Mexico' because everyone is working day and night to bring new parts.

"The biggest problem we had was many problems in FP1 that we need to address.

"I wish we go to Mexico soon, we have three free practices to test many things on the car and hopefully be more competitive, it is painful."

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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