Fernando Alonso worried about Austria sprint

Fernando Alonso shared his thoughts on the Sprint Race whilst Toto Wolff expressed his optimism ahead of the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.

Two-time world champion and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso has shared his concerns about the new F1 sprint format ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The major difference to this year’s F1 sprint means that the result of Friday’s qualifying session will determine the outcome of the grid for Sunday’s race – it will no longer be Saturday’s race.

The sprint Shootout will take place on Saturday after the removal of practice two.

The 100km sprint event should, in theory, see far more attacking from drives coupled with further risk-taking.

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“I think the Sprint weekend will not be ideal for us,” Alonso said.

“We still have more time maybe of free practice with our new upgraded car. We still need to understand and optimise the package a little bit and in Austria, obviously, with the Sprint, we will have only FP1 to do that. But yeah, it is what it is.

“The circuit will be good and maybe better for the package as well, this one with a strange layout, let’s say. Maybe good for Ferrari, historically here as well with a long straight and short corners so maybe Austria we have a little bit more pace.”

Alonso is referring to the major upgrade that was introduced in Canada. Aston Martin will be eager to learn more from their new additions as data was hindered by weather and CCTV problems.

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Mercedes set to introduce more upgrades

The mood in the Mercedes camp has quite clearly improved.

Issues involving the comfort of Lewis Hamilton in the car have been somewhat solved and the team managed a double podium in Spain with Hamilton second and George Russell third.

In Canada, Mercedes built upon their momentum with Lewis Hamilton finishing third.

It was a less fortunate weekend for George Russell, who was forced to retire. Mercedes have since said it was a brake problem rather than damage from Russell’s early crash.

Toto Wolff believes the Red Bull ring circuit in Austria will suit the team better than the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada.

“Although we didn’t get both cars to the chequered flag, a podium was a solid result and we saw encouraging signs from our updated package.

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“It’s a short lap in Spielberg and looks straightforward on paper; several long straights broken up by a range of slow, medium-speed and fast corners. But it’s a challenging one to put together and get right.

“We will aim to build on the momentum we have generated over the past two races and continue our positive trajectory with the car.

“It’s a venue where the W14 should perform better than in Canada, but we won’t take anything for granted. As always, we will be working hard to maximise our performance and deliver strong results.”