Fernando Alonso is remaining cautious about predicting how Aston Martin will fare during this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
After opening the season with six podium finishes in the first eight rounds, Aston Martin has only recorded one top-three finish across the most recent six rounds.
That arrived in Zandvoort last month when Alonso classified second, but he struggled to ninth in the lead Aston Martin car around the low-downforce Monza circuit a week later.
With the Marina Bay Street Circuit representing a return to a higher-downforce circuit configuration, Aston Martin has been tipped to feature back at the sharp end.
However, Alonso is unsure about the Silverstone squad’s potential to deliver upon those expectations, citing how the team has experienced contrasting fortunes at other street venues earlier this year.
When asked on Thursday if he suspects Aston Martin’s AMR23 will be more competitive in Singapore, Alonso said: “I hope so. I think it’s difficult to say.
“In Monza we were not competitive, that’s for sure. Here we hope to be a little bit in better shape, but I think it’s very tight.
“And some of the street circuits we had kind of feeling, like Monaco, that we were okay. In Baku, we were not okay. So, I think we have to wait and see. And as I said, build from FP1 a momentum.”
Alonso is a two-time winner in Singapore, but the Spaniard hasn’t stood on the top step of an F1 podium since May 2013.
The two-time World Champion came closest to ending that 10-year wait earlier in the year at Monaco when he was marginally pipped to pole position by Max Verstappen.
Any chance of Alonso taking the challenge to the Dutchman this weekend will depend on him finding the same confidence in the AMR23 as he had in Monte Carlo.
Questioned on what is needed from a car to excel around the many twists and turns of the Marina Bay Circuit, Alonso replied: “A lot of things, I guess. [You] Need to see the chequered flag first, it’s a very demanding race. Everything runs a little bit hotter than normal. The walls are very close, as all the street circuits.
“And you need to have that confidence in the car that you need to have as well in Monaco and Baku. So, let’s see if we can build that confidence from the free practice and get a good race.”
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23. 01.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Practice Day.
Aston Martin’s mid-season performance slump has seen it drop 56 points behind Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings, with Ferrari also demoting the British marque to fourth last time out in Monza.
However, Aston Martin Performance Director Tom McCullough established earlier in the week its goal for the remainder of the year remains to retrieve second place.
But Alonso has adopted a coy attitude towards Aston Martin’s chances of succeeding, stressing the need to take each race as it comes amid its inconsistent run.
“I think it’s going to be long until Abu Dhabi, I think it’s going to be up and down for everybody,” he contended.
“We saw during the season some moments on some races it seems that we were the second fastest. Some of the races, we feel that we are the fifth or the sixth fastest. So this, as I said, is difficult to guess.
“But you know, we are confident. Obviously we are in a position that is a privilege to have, fighting with top teams, and we’re still enjoying every moment in every weekend.
“But yeah, let’s see. I think we have to go race-by-race and be very open with our chances, and if we can score many points, we will fight for second.”
Lance Stroll (CDN) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23. 03.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 15, Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy, Race Day.
Meanwhile, team-mate Lance Stroll is aiming to bounce back from a torrid weekend in Italy that witnessed him set the slowest time in qualifying and not threaten the points places.
The Canadian is currently 123 points adrift of his team-mate but is bullish about being able to contribute to Aston Martin’s ambitions if it can rediscover its early-season pace.
“I mean, if we have the pace in the car that you know we had early on in the season and we execute every weekend, it’s definitely possible,” he added when asked about Aston Martin’s potential to finish second in 2023.
“But it’s much more competitive than it was earlier on in the season. I think early on in the season at times we definitely had the second quickest car, you know, between second and third quickest car. And we dropped back at a few of the events, like I said, the kind of lower downforce tracks we’ve been struggling a little bit more.
“But I think if we get back to the form where we want to get to and we capitalise each weekend, it’s very possible.
“It’s a very close battle between ourselves, you know, and Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren now, who are looking really quick, even Williams some races are looking really quick, so it’s definitely very competitive between the whole field but I definitely you know, believe if we like I said, if we find the pace and the car that you know we’ve had earlier in the season and we capitalise, it’s very possible.”
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