Alonso: “Here there are no celebrations until we win and that is very appealing.”

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Picture credits Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team

Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team have launched their challenger for the 2023 F1 season. To the great joy of the team’s newest driver, Fernando Alonso, the AMR23 unveiled was the real car as opposed to ‘just the show car with stickers’. This quip from the popular Spaniard was told to media during Monday’s launch and his comments later demonstrated the buoyant mood Alonso is in – while showing that he is keeping his feet in the ground.

Fernando Alonso is a two-time F1 Drivers’ Champion and due to the fact his latest F1 title came with Renault back in 2006 has many years of experience to call on. Irrespective of the fact that Alonso has not won in the pinnacle of motorsport since the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, the 41-year old Spanish racer (by his own admission) is the fittest he has ever been.

During Monday’s AMR23 launch, Alonso shared his thoughts on the energy he feels from the short time he has been at Aston Martin F1 Team:

“New fresh approach for many things. New people that joined the team. A lot of talent on the design office, on the technical department. Obviously, the new factory nearly ready, only a few months left until the team moves there. A new driver, so everything feels like a new energy. I see people very motivated, a lot of work has been done on this car and finally we will see today. I can’t wait for Bahrain, and everyone is very excited about this project.” stated Alonso

As excited as the former F1 Drivers’ Champion may be, he still is pragmatic and made clear that he is expecting some difficult races while he and the car get up to speed.

“I have my feet in the ground,” explained Alonso. “I cannot say to anyone that we will be fighting for victories this year. I will lie if I say that. But at the same time, we want to have a good car to start with, and to work and develop that car throughout the season. Maybe in the second part of the year, we can get closer. If there is an opportunity; there is changeable conditions; there is something that if the opportunity comes – we will not miss that opportunity. But at the beginning, I expect some difficult races until we find where the car operates, which window/the setup – we have to work with the set-up.”

Had fortune favoured Fernando Alonso last year, the Spaniard would surely have scored considerably more than his tally of 81 points. He also would probably have finished ahead of Esteban Ocon – his teammate at the time – as the Frenchman was only 11 points in front when it came to the final F1 Drivers’ Championship standings of 2022. Such form has previously prompted Alonso to call his final year at BWT Alpine F1 Team his best campaign since he agonisingly missed out on the 2012 F1 Drivers’ Championship. Even so, as a result of such reduced pre-season running (as is the norm in modern day F1) Alonso warned against expecting any success early on.

“I am aware that I will not be 100% in Bahrain, not in Jeddah, maybe not in Australia,” claimed Alonso. “So that’s a little bit unfair, maybe. I think that is the only sport in the world that you do one day and a half practice and then you play a world championship.”

The question was then posed to Fernando Alonso as to what the allure of Aston Martin was and why Fernando Alonso chose to start out again with a new team and probably only a few years of his career remaining.

“This team has been always outstanding in terms of delivering results for the possibilities that they have…right now this is just the opening project.

“In the short term you will see also with the new car there are a lot of things visible on how the team can grow up quickly. In F1 there are no shortcuts. You need the investment, you need the talent in the factory. This project is very ambitious and has a lot of things to prove and a lot of things to go through the next few years. I know my time is not unlimited but I will try to make it as short as possible – this process – and help the team as much as I can.” stated Alonso.

It is always a challenge to make any predictions having had no competitive running in the AMR23. Nevertheless, Alonso’s aim is clear to see as he explained the need to lead the midfield and close the gap on the top 3 – Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

“I think we have to have the feet in the ground. We have to understand that there are no miracles in F1 from one year to the next. Only a few months since Abu Dhabi and there is a big gap to recover from the top teams. We definitely have to, if possible, lead that midfield – get closer to the top three teams…Last year the package had some difficulties as we all saw from the outside and I think the team went through a few things during the season and they improve a lot at the end of the year. So, those difficulties for sure are very good when you understand them and you can program something from that car. And I think this is the real first car with this new set of regulations.”

Ferando Alonso has a reputation as being a hard taskmaster and certainly someone who will not suffer fools gladly. In such a short time with his new team, while people speculated what his manner will now be like, Alonso gave another reason as to why he is so happy with this new project he has taken on.

“I’m very demanding on everything that I do. I expect a lot from people that I work with. I give my 100% and expect the same from the people that I work with. Since the first day, in Aston Martin, I felt exactly the same values from the people around me. Obviously, we have the leadership of Lawrence [Stroll] that I know for many years now. He had a lot of success in many different things and many different projects in his life and I see there is no doubt that formula One will not be different. He will succeed sooner or later so that’s something that is very motivating.” Alonso said. Later, in remarks indicating the mindset of his former team, Fernando Alonso explained how ‘Here there are no celebrations until we win and that is very appealing.”

It is no doubt very appealing for fans and advertisers alike to have Fernando Alonso still racing in F1. As one of the old guard, the Spaniard has legions of fans desperate to see him succeed almost as much as Alonso himself.

There may indeed be no miracles in F1 but Fernando Alonso came from BWT Alpine F1 Team having seen Esteban Ocon become the most unlikely of F1 Grand Prix winners in his time there. As such, Alonso knows that there is always a chance in F1 and should he finally receive some luck – who knows what is possible during 2023.