Fernando Alonso has admitted that Aston Martin finishing fifth in the Constructors’ Championship “hurts a little”, despite the fact 2023 was still a “historical season” for the side.
Aston Martin entered the 2023 season having enjoyed a spectacular pre-season, where it was discovered that they were the only side capable of potentially challenging Red Bull.
Given that they were towards the bottom of the midfield in 2022, fighting for podiums from the get-go was a spectacular feeling for the Silverstone-based team.
In his first season for Aston Martin, Alonso started the campaign with six podiums in the first seven races, something which even he probably didn’t expect.
Aston Martin were better than Mercedes and Ferrari in the first half of the campaign, before falling behind them and McLaren in the second half.
Nevertheless, Alonso salvage eight podiums and claimed fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, a feat he admits was “unthinkable” for the team in 2022.
“It has been a historical season for Aston Martin, and for myself, eight podiums, more than 200 points, nearly 300 for the team,” said Alonso, as reported by Speedcafe.com. “Twelve months ago, this was unthinkable.
“This is the best season ever for the team as well, with whatever name they had before, so an incredible year to remember.
“The expectations were low, so we have exceeded expectations this year. Maybe next year it’s the opposite, the expectations will be very high, so we have some pressure on our shoulders.”
As mentioned, Aston Martin did end up falling behind Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren in the standings, mostly because their upgrades simply didn’t work.
Oddly, the more upgrades Aston Martin introduced the slower they became, whilst Lance Stroll was also rarely able to help Alonso score big points.
2023 is still a season for the team to be massively proud of, despite dropping to fifth not feeling great.
Alonso still rates 2023 as one of the “best” season’s in his F1 career, alongside 2012 where he lost the title to Sebastian Vettel.
“This is Formula 1, not a charity event,” insisted Alonso. “We have to have the pressure to deliver.
“The fifth in the constructors’ (championship) hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that. We were hoping for better than that at the beginning of the year.
“In the drivers’, to finish fourth is completely unexpected, completely unreal, and to fight with the guys we were fighting.
“If you are fifth in the constructors’, normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers’, so it’s been a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself.
“For me, 2012 and this season are the best in my career, a position I couldn’t ever have imagined at the beginning of the year with the car performance we had (from last year).”