Alpine comment on Fernando Alonso’s ‘surprise’ success as they make Ferrari claim

Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso have raced into the 2023 title race with back-to-back third place finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

When Fernando Alonso announced his move to Aston Martin in 2022, the paddock was surprised why he would leave fourth-placed Alpine for a team that was seventh in the Constructors’ Standings.

However, when Aston Martin turned up to the first race of the season in Bahrain, Alonso’s reasoning was clear to see, as the team glided onto the podium for the first time since the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

In Saudi Arabia, Alonso followed up his first race performance by fighting Sergio Perez’s Red Bull for the lead in the opening laps before crossing the finish line in third. 

With Aston Martin finding itself in second in the Constructors’ Standings, while Alpine is down in fifth, Alonso’s old team has spoken up on his “surprise” success.

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Alpine Formula 1 sporting director Alan Permane admitted “Aston have made a huge leap” from last season, stating that they “caught everyone by surprise by the jump they’ve made.”

“It’s not satisfying that we’re not where we want to be in terms of pace,” he continued. “We want to be a bit quicker than that, up fighting those guys.”

“I think we are closer to Ferrari and closer to Merc than were last year. I haven’t really had a good analysis of it yet, but I’m sure we’re closer to Ferrari, because at this time last year, they were fighting for wins,” Permane added.

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“We’re fifth quickest team, which is not where we want to be. Our target was to be closer to third place. That isn’t the case at the moment. Actually, it may be, because if you say Mercedes is the third quickest team, maybe we’re closer to them than we were last year,” the Alpine director said.

Looking at the current leaders in both title races, Permane accepted that it’s going to be tough for anyone to catch Red Bull in 2023, as they have a “second a lap in hand.”

“It’s frustrating. We just need to keep working hard and bringing the upgrades and putting the downforce on. Keeping on keeping on, and that worked very well for us last year,” Permane explained.