Less important was the final result, which was broadcast by Aston Martin during the three hours of rollover due to Alonso’s penalty. Third or fourth at the Saudi Arabian GP didn’t matter as the AMR23 completed a display of pace ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. Fortunately for them, the FIA came to its senses and handed Fernando the podium back late at night in Jeddah and the mechanics were able to celebrate as they packed up the car and dismantled the garage. There are two third places for Fernando in two races and, above all, a confirmation: the Aston Martin did well on a hard asphalt circuit and low and medium speed curves (Sakhir) and even better at high speed and a firm and smooth track. (Jeddah Corniche). Next week, the challenge is Albert Park, which can already be described as a fluid circuit with fast corners similar to those in Arabia.
Using anglicisms, this single seater is more than an ‘outsider’, an ‘allrounder’: a fast all-rounder on any track. Alonso acknowledged this hereby: “In Bahrain we took advantage of our lower degradation, but here we had more pace, it wasn’t a question of the tires, so it’s very good news.” Even though Mike Krack, who is a glass half empty, prefers to wait: “This week confirms that we are well on a circuit where we expected to be less competitive. But we have to be careful, in the data we have two examples now, two completely different circuits and we were competitive, but there will be other circuits.
Much of the credit goes to the Silverstone factory and the design team that changed Aston Martin’s pace. It will also depend on them which evolutions bring them closer to Red Bull and separate them from their current competition. “There is a development race going on. We have to be careful with predictions. Can we close that gap with Red Bull? We will work hard, last year we made progress. The reference is always the fastest car”, says Krack, ‘main team’ who translates the good moment the team is experiencing: “It’s incredible, there’s a good tendency in the team and I’m looking forward to going to work tomorrow. You have to send people home at night because everyone is willing to contribute.
The other factor that multiplied Aston Martin’s projection is Alonso himself. For his effect in the factory and his performance on the track (two third places, the best possible result in both cases). AS asks Performance Director Tom McCullough about the ‘Fernando effect’: “Actually, this is last year’s Aston Martin, but with Fernando at the wheel (he jokes). Fernando had a big impact on the team. Your motivation, your desire, your experience, your knowledge are enormous. It pushes us all. It has played an important role. You need a faster car to be better, but he did most of the testing because unfortunately Lance wasn’t available, which helped him get to grips with the car in less time. And that had a huge impact.”