Alonso expecting “difficult races” in early season as he adapts to new team · RaceFans

Aston Martin’s new driver Fernando Alonso believes it will take him more than three race weekends to get fully up to speed in 2023.

The double world champion joins Aston Martin from Alpine for this year, his 20th full season in Formula 1. He will race alongside Lance Stroll, who has been at the Silverstone-based team since 2019.

Alonso says he expects it will take some time for him to get up to maximum speed this season, due to the limited lack of testing time available during the pre-season.

“In the beginning, I expect some difficult races until we find where the car operates, which setup window we have to work with,” Alonso told media including RaceFans ahead of the launch of the team’s AMR23.

“The first five races or six races in Alpine, I was struggling a lot to feel the front end, different power steering settings, all these things. This year we have only one day and a half testing in Bahrain, so I’m aware that I will not be 100% in Bahrain, not in Jeddah – maybe not in Australia.

“So that’s a little bit unfair. I think, as I’ve said in previous winters as well, this is the only sport in the world that you do one day-and-a-half of practice and then you play a world championship. There is no other sport in the world.

Alonso has modest expectations for the team’s performance in 2023, but with Aston Martin growing with work nearly finished on a state-of-the-art new factory and hiring talent from rival teams, Alonso hopes he can set a strong foundation this season for him to build from.

“I think with Lance I have that benchmark in a way, he said. “After a few years in the team I know what is 100%, so I can get closer to that in the first moments, and let’s see.

“I think we have more possibilities to fight for wins and podiums next year if we have a good baseline this year. What we have this year, will not be our normal position is what I believe.”

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