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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Alonso still getting used to Aston Martin F1 car's steering quirks

Fernando Alonso has explained where he still needs to adapt to Aston Martin's 2023 Formula 1 car, which cost him while battling Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain, following his Alpine switch.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

The two-time champion ran early in Q3 last weekend to qualify in fifth place before losing out to former McLaren team-mate Hamilton on the run into Turn 4 on the opening lap of the grand prix.

But, after Charles Leclerc had retired, Alonso came alive on his hard compound Pirellis to overhaul Hamilton and the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz to score a popular podium on his Aston debut.

The Spaniard had been delayed in his battle with Hamilton. Having used DRS to lunge up the inside of the Mercedes into Turn 4, he suffered a spike oversteer at the apex to immediately lose the place.

Alonso has revealed that this slide was indicative of his adaption to the AMR23 after his move from Alpine, the driver telling Sky that he was still acclimatising to the power steering assistance.

He said: “I think it was still [caused by the] slowing down.

“I still need to get used to the power assistance and things on this car.

“It’s a bit different compared to Alpine, so it caught me by surprise, to be honest.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Upon switching from the Renault-engined Alpine to the Mercedes powertrain in the back of the Aston, Alonso reckoned there was not much difference and that this had not contributed to the slide.

He continued: “Power unit-wise, I don’t think there is much in it. But the car itself and the front suspension geometry is always different between cars.

“So, you have different feedback from the front grip on your hands on the steering wheel.

“At that kind of moment, I am sure I need more time on track and in this car.”

Alonso is known to prefer minimal assistance so that he can feel precisely what the front axle is doing.

Notably, Alonso, who is no stranger to a soundbite over team radio, did message his race engineer to declare the AMR23 to be a “lovely car to drive” shortly after passing Sainz.

When asked by Motorsport.com to elaborate on the car snapping sideways, Alonso said: “I think we know what is causing that, but I will keep it for me. We're still working.

“As I said, the car is very new. We need to learn more about the car; I need to get used to the car.

“So those moments were more coming from me getting used to the car, getting used to the driving input, feedback from the steering wheel and power assistance.

“So, things are not 100% tailor-made yet.” 

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