Alonso aware of threat from Racing Bulls after F1 Imola GP: “We need to keep on working because everything is so tight”

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team
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Aston Martin left Imola with two important points on the board but they did not come courtesy of Fernando Alonso. Instead, the 2-time F1 Drivers’ Champion had an ‘F1 test style’ race.

It was always going to be difficult for Alonso having started Sunday’s Grand Prix from the pitlane but his Team Principal Mike Krack praised him saying he “played the team game perfectly”. Meanwhile Alonso reflected on more mileage on the board and hopefully some lessons learnt with a very long season still ahead.

“I mean, as predicted, unfortunately, in this race you only hope for a Safety Car or red flag or something that can mix a little bit the race,” Alonso admitted. “It didn’t happen, so, yeah, it was a little bit boring from behind, always in traffic, trying different strategies, multiple pit stops, all these kind of things, to get some data for the team, but for the driver itself, it’s not much you can do.”

As boring as Alonso may have found his race he certainly had a dramatic moment when a brake fire coming out of the pits lasted a little longer than usual due to the length of the pitlane requiring pit limiter use for longer than at most circuits.

“I was convinced that the fire will stop as soon as I pick up the speed, and the ventilation played its part, but this is the longest pit lane until you release the pit limiter, so yes, it felt long in the car, but I think everything was fine.”

Due to the fact Aston Martin are clearly off the pace, Alonso was asked as to what the overall feeling in the car was like having had the upgrades.

“I don’t know,” Alonso said. “I think we experimented a lot in FP1, in FP2 with Lance’s car, with different packages, FP3 was another experiment, another one now in the race, taking the opportunity on my car to start from the pit lane, so I think it’s early days to make conclusions, and I think it’s a question for the team, with all the data they have, they will give more precise information.”

With Imola now in the history books, discussion inevitably turned to Monaco and whether the street circuit layout could be a relief to navigate. 

“I don’t know, it depends on the car.” Alonso explained. “If the car doesn’t handle well in Monaco, it’s a torture going fast in that track, so I think first of all we need to set up the car properly, we need to find the maximum performance, and we need to concentrate on Saturday, I think on Sunday it’s like here, no one will overtake, so all the efforts will be on Saturday like everyone else, and hopefully that perfect lap comes next weekend.”

With Aston Martin struggling, the same cannot be said for the team’s rivals and this is a fact that is not lost on Alonso. The Spanish driver was asked how concerned he is about the general trend of the relative performance, because it wouldn’t take much to get shuffled down from a lower points car to one that’s struggling to score.

Both RBs outqualified Stroll, although the Canadian beat Tsunoda in the race.

“Yes, obviously we are aware of the situation, and we see that the top three teams are a little bit far away at the moment, and even AlphaTauri [RB] it seems that Daniel was P4 in the sprint race in Miami, Yuki was very fast this weekend, so yes, we need to keep on working because as you said, everything is so tight.

“If you don’t improve those two or three tenths, you naturally have to improve every two or three Grands Prix, then you are in the midfield.” Alonso stated with a clear awareness of the potential threat in front of his team.

Imola showed that Aston Martin are still not competitive enough but there is always a chance that data gained from Alonso’s ‘race’ this past Sunday will accelerate the team and reduce the gap to their rivals. Aston Martin excelled at Monaco in 2023. It would take something special for history to repeat itself and as such one can imagine that team expectation is very different this time around.