Fernando Alonso will drive for Aston Martin in 2023 after moving from Alpine; the two-time world champion partners with Lance Stroll; Aston Martin is hoping for a significant improvement after finishing seventh in the Constructors’ Championship last season
Last updated: 20/01/23 16:44
Aston Martin Assistant Technical Director Eric Blandin has revealed that radical changes to the team’s 2023 car have been influenced by feedback from new signing Fernando Alonso.
The two-time World Champion joined Aston Martin after completing the previous season from Alpine and was able to drive the British team’s 2022 car in post-season testing in Abu Dhabi.
Aston Martin endured a disappointing season, finishing seventh in the Constructors’ Championship despite significant investment from owner Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance is Alonso’s teammate.
“Fernando’s feedback is extremely precise,” said Blandin.
“He clearly communicated what he wanted from the car and immediately identified a few things that we could incorporate into the design of the AMR23.
“Last season Fernando drove a car that was very different from ours – and more competitive. After driving the AMR22, he was able to quickly compare the two cars and say, ‘This is definitely better, this is definitely worse and that’s where we should focus.'”
Blandin, who joined Aston Martin last year after enjoying a hugely successful 10-year tenure with Mercedes as principal and then chief aerodynamicist, addressed the extreme differences between last year’s car and the new model.
“We took all our learnings from last year’s car and applied them to this year’s car,” said Blandin.
“So much about the AMR23 is new, it’s completely different from the AMR22. We changed more than 90 percent of the parts and more than 95 percent of the aerodynamic surfaces are different.
“The AMR22 became a laboratory. We tested so many things at the track to increase our understanding and that growing understanding was underscored by our improved performance towards the end of last season.
“We were able to push the performance limits with the way we drove the car. This would not have been possible with the original concept that we had at the beginning of the season.”
Aston Martin have announced they will officially launch their AMR23 on February 13, 10 days before pre-season testing begins in Bahrain. The opening Grand Prix of the season will also take place in Bahrain from March 3rd to 5th.
Alonso inspired by the “special” Aston Martin atmosphere
Alonso, who replaced Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin following the German’s retirement from F1, is confident a “special atmosphere” within the team will fuel progress in 2023.
The 41-year-old Spaniard had another impressive season with Alpine, but was repeatedly disappointed by his reliability and ended up ninth in the drivers’ standings.
Speaking of his Aston Martin post-season test, Alonso said: “Next year’s car will be very different from this one, so any feedback you get from that one isn’t really relevant when we’re driving the AMR23.
“But I saw some different philosophies in terms of setting up the car, developing the car and managing the powertrain. There are many things that you get initial feedback on; we have to sit down and try to make the best of everything.
“You can feel the energy in the team and how motivated everyone is. I can’t wait for next year. I felt a very special atmosphere in the box.”
Before joining Mercedes in 2011, Blanding worked alongside Alonso at Ferrari for two years and believes the Spaniard can help take Aston Martin to the ‘next level’.
“Fernando is an outstanding driver. There aren’t many riders of his caliber on the grid – you can count them on one hand,” added Blandin.
“He’s so passionate, so driven… extremely driven. After everything he’s accomplished, he still has that restless hunger to win.
“The signing of Fernando was huge for the team. He will drive us a lot and help us to reach the next level.
“He will also push Lance. They will complement each other and he will bring out the best in him. We have a very strong driver pairing and it’s up to us to give them a competitive car.”
“We can have the best driver pairing in the field, but it doesn’t count for much if we don’t give them a fast car. We have to deliver.”