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Alonso's major Aston Martin concern after testing

Fernando Alonso was the star of pre-season testing with eye-catching performances for Aston Martin in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso believes Lance Stroll's absence from Formula 1 pre-season testing has "hurt a lot" for Aston Martin. Stroll was ruled out of testing and is a doubt for the first race after sustaining wrist injuries in a cycling accident, and was replaced in Bahrain by reserve driver Felipe Drugovich. The team have not ruled out a shock return for Sebastian Vettel to fill in until Stroll is fit to resume driving duties, but Alonso feels that the absence of his new teammate – who has been with the Silverstone squad since 2019 – has hurt Aston's understanding of the AMR23.

Alonso on impact of Stroll's absence

"It hurt a lot," two-time World Champion Alonso replied when asked of the impact of Stroll’s absence by F1 TV . "I think we miss him because some of my comments, my feelings with the car, we never know if it’s just me in a new team and a new car. "It's just maybe an Aston Martin thing [that I am not used to] and Lance could spot it, brake pedal feeling, power steering, all these things. "I don't know if this is a legacy from the team or if it is just new [for] this car. "We cannot do it without him, [so] I hope he can come [back] very soon." Alonso nearly nabbed top spot on the opening day of testing, falling 0.029 seconds short of overhauling pace-setter Max Verstappen, with the team arguably the fourth fastest behind the established top three and perhaps on par with Mercedes. "We feel there is a lot more to come from the car, that we didn't have time yet [to find] in testing," Alonso said. "The car felt good on all three days, we've been experimenting a little bit with very different routes on [car] set-ups, 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. "That, obviously, is a concern in a way because we will need a couple of races to optimise the package."

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