Alonso trusts Aston won’t repeat 2023 development errors

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Fernando Alonso is confident that Aston Martin will avoid in 2024 a recurrence of last year's errors in terms of its development programme and will steer the evolution of its AMR24 in the right direction.

Aston began the previous season with a bang, with Alonso regularly gracing the podium and even pushing the dominant Red Bull duo on occasion.

However, halfway through the year, Team Silverstone’s development strategy seemingly went awry.

Upgrades failed to deliver, performance stagnated, and the team found itself slipping down the order. At the time, Aston performance director Tom McCullough admitted that the extent of the R&D and experimenting conducted by the team, mostly in Austin and in Mexico, was “a bit too much”.

Looking ahead, Alonso acknowledges the missteps of last year and the lessons that were taken.

"I'm confident," he said. "If not, I could not maybe sleep for the last two months! But I think we did a lot of experiments and a lot of changes back and forth in terms of understanding the problems and the direction and the paths that we need to follow this year on the car.

"I think we understood a lot of things, and with this year's car we intend to improve some of those weaknesses that we saw in terms of developing the car last year that we maybe got into the wrong direction a few times, and we understood a little bit too late.

"Hopefully we have that knowledge, those difficulties from last year were lessons that we took on board for the '24 car, and we will see the result.

"I think we had a good step forward this winter, maybe not as big as last year, because last year the baseline was very poor. And this year, the baseline was very strong already last year's, which is understandable."

Alonso pointed to downforce and top speed as two crucial areas where he is expecting significant improvement this season.

"I basically will love to have a little bit more downforce," he said. "Especially on the high-speed corners, probably it was one weak area last year, that I think we tried to improve in this year's car.

"Top speed was not the best last year; we were always fighting on the straights. And we were on the bottom of the charts always on the top speed. So we tried to be a little bit more efficient this year, a little bit faster on the straight.

"So there are a couple of points that I would love to see in the car when we hit Bahrain winter testing, which probably will help us on Sundays on the race weekends."

Alonso is nevertheless anticipating the field of F1 competitors to tighten by another notch, noting that even small advancements could yield significant advantages over competitors.

"I know that it's going to be very tight," he said. "So, even if we make a reasonable and very good step forward, we know that the other teams, over the winter, do also a good step forward.

"And we saw in Abu Dhabi, I think within six tenths it was pole position and P18. So when you improve a couple of tenths, this can change your life. And this can change fighting for the podium or being in Q2, out of the top 10 in the first races.

"And it's just one small update that maybe you bring to the next race, and from Q2 you jump to a podium. So I think it's going to be a very interesting season, and a very demanding season off-track, trying to bring upgrades to make a difference."

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