Alonso: Playing catch-up in F1 is no excuse for current form

Fernando Alonso says he cannot use his lack of recent race experience in a Formula 1 car as an excuse for his lacklustre performance at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Alonso: Playing catch-up in F1 is no excuse for current form

The Spaniard is returning to F1 after two seasons away, and has faced a battle to get fully comfortable with Alpine as he gets back into the swing of things. But despite an encouraging run in the Bahrain GP opener, he had a more difficult time at Imola last weekend.

The two-time F1 world champion was outqualified by teammate Esteban Ocon, spun in the wet conditions before the start and then ran in the midfield before Kimi Raikkonen’s post-race time penalty handed him his first point of the season.

On a weekend when drivers in new teams appeared to struggle more, Alonso said that the tricky wet conditions certainly did not help those adapting to new surroundings.

However, he said it would be wrong to use that as an excuse as he admitted he needed to be better prepared for future races.

“It feels kind of obvious that every lap I do, every lap we do, these drivers, we feel more comfortable,” Alonso said about the challenge new drivers were facing. “Here [at Imola] it was a triple experience, because from lap one to the end we changed conditions and we changed grip level so many times during the race. We had one red flag, we had one standing start, we had one rolling start.

“There were a lot of things to practice and a lot of things to go through that normally take four or five races. And we compressed all in one race with a lot of activity.

“So I’m happy with the learnings. I’m also happy with feeling the car in wet conditions, as obviously our testing was one-and-a-half days in Bahrain but it was the very first time in wet conditions, the very first time in inter conditions, the very first time in conditions with only one narrow dry line. So a lot of lessons to take from here to analyse.

“Feeling-wise, from lap one to 63, I felt 300% better in a way of how confident I am with the car. But this cannot be an excuse to say that we did not perform well, I did not perform well. I have to be more prepared and more ready next time.

“It doesn’t matter if you have little time or no time in the car, I will try to be better next time.”

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Alonso said he did not expect it to be easy on his F1 return, and reckons it will still take a few more races before he is at a level of performance that he is happy with.

“I am where I expected to be, but you always want to be more and higher up and you want to be a little bit more confident in the car,” he said. “Probably I was not confident in Bahrain or confident here, and I will not be confident in Portimao.

“This is not a feeling that goes from day to night and then you are 100% - it will take time. But I’m here to work and I’m here to get better. And a race like this one helps massively because you can feel the car in very difficult conditions and you can learn a lot more than just a normal race.”

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