Alonso hopeful for future victories despite Red Bull’s current F1 dominance
Fernando Alonso is not giving up on the possibility of securing a grand prix win for Aston Martin this season, despite Red Bull’s early-season dominance in Formula 1.
Following the recent Red Bull 1-2 finish in Jeddah, it appears that the RB19s are a formidable force that could potentially dominate the season.
Despite Red Bull’s dominant early-season form, Fernando Alonso, the Aston Martin Formula 1 driver, remains confident in his team’s ability to secure a grand prix win this season. However, after a Red Bull 1-2 finish in Jeddah, it appears that F1 may be faced with the possibility of a season dominated by the formidable RB19s. These cars proved to be just as potent at the Saudi Arabian street track as they were in the season’s opening race at the vastly different Sakhir venue.
During the race in Jeddah, Alonso felt that his Aston Martin AMR23 was slightly closer to the pace of the Red Bull cars compared to the previous race in Bahrain. He even led the race for a short time and was able to keep up with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for a few more laps after being overtaken, which could be seen as a positive sign.
However, Alonso ultimately finished the race 20.7 seconds behind the winner, which translated to a time loss of 0.69 seconds per lap compared to Perez, especially after the mid-race safety car period. In comparison, Alonso was 38.6 seconds behind the winner, Max Verstappen, in Bahrain. This time loss was very similar to Jeddah, as it amounted to 0.70 seconds per lap over 55 laps of green-flag running.
It’s possible that Alonso based his conclusion on the fact that Max Verstappen was pushing harder for more of the race distance in Jeddah than in Bahrain, as Verstappen did not follow a target lap time in Jeddah. This could mean that the Red Bull cars were being pushed harder for a larger portion of the race in Jeddah, which would give Alonso and his team reason to believe that they were closer to Red Bull’s pace in that race.
According to Alonso, he believes that if Red Bull had pushed harder in Bahrain, they would have been much further ahead. In Jeddah, Red Bull was still ahead and untouchable, but Alonso thinks that his team was a little bit closer to them in terms of pace. Alonso was pleased with the fact that he was able to lead the race for two laps and is optimistic about Aston Martin’s future prospects in F1, hoping that this was just the first of many times they will be leading the field.
Aston Martin had previously led two laps in the hands of Sebastian Vettel at the US Grand Prix last year, although the circumstances were quite different.
When asked by The Race about Verstappen’s statement in Bahrain that Aston Martin was capable of winning races this year, Alonso responded by saying that his team would need some assistance from Red Bull, as they are currently the dominant force. However, Alonso is confident that Aston Martin will have the opportunity to win races when Red Bull is unable to finish first and second consistently.
Alonso believes that Red Bull’s dominance will eventually be challenged by unforeseen circumstances, such as a botched pitstop or a gearbox failure. He cited Max Verstappen’s recent mechanical issue as an example, stating that if it had happened during the race, Verstappen would have been forced to retire. Alonso believes that such incidents could provide an opportunity for other teams, including Aston Martin, to challenge and potentially win races.
Alonso acknowledges that there may be certain circuits where reliability or other factors could work in Aston Martin’s favor, potentially giving them an opportunity to challenge for a win. He hopes that when such situations arise, his team will be able to capitalize on them and seize the chance to compete for victory.
Reliability has been the only concern surrounding the RB19 this season, even beyond Max Verstappen’s transmission failure during qualifying in Jeddah, which resulted in him starting from 15th on the grid. During the race in Jeddah, both Red Bull drivers reported concerning vibrations, adding to the worry about their reliability.
Sergio Perez also revealed that the Red Bulls might not have finished the race in Bahrain if they had not been running to a conservative target lap time, highlighting the importance of managing their reliability throughout the season. These concerns suggest that there may be opportunities for other teams, including Aston Martin, to capitalize on any potential reliability issues that Red Bull may face in the future.
Even if Aston Martin can maintain its competitive position relative to teams like Ferrari and Mercedes throughout the season, the likelihood of capitalizing on technical issues that affect both Red Bull cars in the same race may decrease as the season progresses. As Red Bull continues to refine and improve its car’s reliability, it may become less susceptible to technical gremlins, making it harder for other teams to gain an advantage. Therefore, it will be crucial for Aston Martin to continue to push for development and improvements throughout the season to maximize their chances of success.
In the 2022 season, both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez experienced reliability issues during the season opener, causing them to drop out of the race. Verstappen also suffered a race-ending fuel leak in race three in Melbourne. However, Verstappen managed to finish every race from then on, despite being compromised by damage sustained from hitting debris on a couple of occasions.
Perez, on the other hand, only had one other retirement related to reliability, which occurred due to a gearbox problem during the Canadian Grand Prix. These relatively low levels of reliability issues suggest that Red Bull has been able to improve the reliability of their cars since the start of the season, making it more difficult for their competitors to capitalize on technical issues.
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