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Aston Martin

F1 2023 season review: A nice surprise for Aston Martin

Aston Martin turned heads at the start of the season when it appeared to possess the second-fastest car in the field. Although its pace dropped off as the year wore on, it marked a substantial improvement for the Silverstone-based squad.

Alonso Monaco Q
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Whisperings about improvements to the Aston Martin car over the winter break saw the team arrive at pre-season testing with keen eyes fixated upon them.

The test was positive for the Silverstone-based squad but history has taught us not to take the pre-season stopwatch as gospel.

However when the car was placed into a competitive environment at the season-opening race, it delivered as Fernando Alonso bagged a podium on his debut for Aston Martin.

There was an equally impressive performance from Lance Stroll who was recovering from a winter biking accident that ruled him out of any mileage during testing.

Aston Martin’s impressive form continued across the following race weekends as Alonso racked up podium after podium and stayed in conversations as one of the very best on the grid.

Alonso's consistent performances resulted in daylight being placed between himself and Stroll in the Drivers’ Championship as the calendar wore on.

The team's pace would soon taper off as it was caught by its rivals but the substantial gains that it made over the winter break offered a boost that couldn’t be dented throughout the year.

But while one driver received praise for his performance during the campaign, the other saw question marks raised - once again - over his place on the F1 grid.

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll

Stroll was commended in the early stage of the season for battling through fractures in both wrists and a broken toe.

After his recovery however, the jump to get near to Alonso’s level never came and the Canadian driver lost the qualifying head-to-head battle 19-3.

It marks a mammoth swing in Alonso’s favour with the race head-to-head tussle also going heavily in the two-time World Champion’s favour at 18-4.

Alonso scored six podiums in the opening eight races and another two in the second half of the season which aided him en route to his highest standings result in 10 years.

The Spaniard labelled the year as his best in terms of performance alongside his 2012 campaign with Ferrari. At 42 years of age, Alonso cast away any suggestions that he is too old to occupy a seat.

Stroll had a handful of respectable performances during the year but his lacklustre speed compared to Alonso raised questions over his F1 future.

The remarks are the same ones that have followed Stroll around for much of his career and competing under the protection of his father owning the Aston Martin team isn’t helping his cause when his performances are not up to standard.

Nevertheless, Stroll ended the year on a high with a duo of fifth-place results at the Sao Paulo and Las Vegas Grands Prix, but the Canadian will have a job to do next year if he wishes to be rid of scrutiny over his F1 seat.

No negatives

Aston Martin ended the season fifth in the Constructors' Championship, two positions higher than its result last year.

Its start-of-year form was hailed as it spiralled up the pecking order in a short space of time before slipping back down the competitive ladder.

However, Team Principal Mike Krack highlighted that there are no negatives from the campaign despite being unable to maintain its form from the opening rounds.

“Maximum positive,” Krack told media including RacingNews365 when assessing the season.

“I think if we look back, we have had eight podiums. We have 280 points. I think we will struggle to find a negative if we zoom out and look at our season.

“I don't see any negatives because you need to zoom out deliberately more than that, you cannot go race by race.

“I think Fernando mentioned it also, we should not go like football, where every race, you are judged on your path. So when you do a summary of the season, you cannot do that.”

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F1 2023 season reviews RN365 News dossier

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