Aston Martin have confirmed that Fernando Alonso’s retirement from the United States Grand Prix was caused by damage to a floor edge from a “brutal” track surface.

Having opted to start from the pitlane in order to make alterations to the set-up of their cars, both Aston Martin drivers climbed their way into the lower end of the top 10.

However, Alonso was running a steady ninth in the closing stages when he suddenly slowed and was advised to return to the pits.

Alonso concedes it marked a “painful” end to his race in Austin, after overcoming a challenging weekend to be in a position to lead a double points haul for the team.

“It was a super race for us, great comeback, a lot of pace in the car,” he said. “So we started from the pit lane, and we were aiming to finish eighth, so this was a very good race for us.

“Unfortunately, we had to retire the car with some damage that we picked up on the floor apparently and we had to retire.

“So it is painful because the whole weekend we were lacking pace and that was not good. And in the race today we had a lot of pace, but we still have to retire.

“So zero points, it hurts, but nothing we can do; we concentrate on Mexico.”

Asked what caused the damage, Alonso replied: “Probably kerbs.”

Expanding on the issue that curtailed Alonso’s involvement, Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack confirmed: “The track is brutal here, you know, it’s really, really very, very tough and there was one part of the floor, the floor edges on this on the right that is just broken off like half a meter in like this, this long and this wide just gone.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.

The multitude of bumps notoriously present at COTA became the centre of criticism again post-race, with Max Verstappen arguing the track is currently not “F1 level”.

Krack sided with Verstappen’s complaints, highlighting: “The drivers are best placed to say that, you know, we’re sitting outside and look what they do, you know, they drive it.

“So, and they have also the comparison to other floors, to other circuits, we know that this is a hard circuit. You know, you come here, you reinforce everything, you strengthen the brake ducts, you strengthen the deflectors, you strengthen everything that you can strengthen.

“And if you look at the replacement list, there is also some teams that had to replace some parts because it’s so tough.

“Now, if it is, I think it’s also the combination in the circuit with this kind of, this generation [of F1] cars that you have to run on the lower side that makes it makes it hard. But it is a fact that it is a very hard circuit.”

Prior to Sunday, Aston Martin had endured an arduous weekend, which began with Alonso declaring it would be a testing event for the team after a double Q1 elimination.

After further struggles in Saturday’s Sprint, Aston Martin withdrew its two cars from the grid for the grand prix, returning Alonso to the pre-Austin specification AMR23.

The two-time F1 champion was enthused by the positive progress he and Stroll made in the race but concedes the Silverstone side must understand its contrasting form.

“I think we had yesterday both cars struggling a little bit, we didn’t do many laps in the weekend and today we went again into the race completely blind with new set-ups for both cars, even different package between both cars, so a little bit a test session,” Alonso emphasised.

“I think we felt much more competitive today than any other session of the weekend. Starting from the pit lane, both cars in the points I think is better than what we saw yesterday and that’s good news, but obviously, we need to understand many details.”

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