Aston not ‘blind into the dark’, aware of car’s issues - Alonso

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Fernando Alonso says his Aston Martin team is not racing “blind into the dark”, insisting the outfit’s engineers are fully aware of the balance issues that are hindering the AMR24.

Aston’s 2024 season year-to-date is in stark contrast to the start of its 2023 campaign when it emerged as Red Bull’s main challenger on the back of Alonso’s six podiums in eight races.

The Silverstone-based outfit later lost its momentum, concluding its year fifth in F1’s Constructors’ standings, its current position in the championship after seven rounds.

Aston Martin's development efforts to bridge the gap to the leading pack have so far been unsuccessful.

Last weekend in Imola, team principal Mike Krack even suggested that the latest upgrades implemented by Aston on its AMR24 had made the latter “more difficult to drive”.

Alonso crashed in FP3 and then suffered another off-track excursion in qualifying that left him stranded in Q1. On Sunday, a pit lane start turned his race into a full scale test session for the F1 veteran.

Meanwhile, Lance Stroll also expressed multiple grievances regarding the handling of his car that included "some entry oversteer, some corner understeer, these kind of things - kerb riding, the usual things to keep working on."

The Canadian’s comments were echoed by Alonso.

“I think we both have similar feelings on the car and similar comments,” he said.

“There are a couple of set-up tools and directions that could improve that, something that we’ve been testing also in Imola for example on my car on Sunday.

“But yeah, fundamentally I think we need to keep working on the balance of the car.

“We added downforce in all the upgrades that we brought to the track, but we still cannot use all that downforce in an efficient way in lap time because the balance maybe is not totally perfect in the corners.

“But I think we understand this. We have a couple of ideas that, you know, in the next development of the cars and upgrades, we’ll try to fix those kind of problems.

“So, yeah, I mean, we are not blind into the dark. You know, we are aware of the situation.

“But at the same time, it’s the nature of these cars as well that, you know, as you add downforce, they become a little more critical and more difficult to drive.

“Yeah, and this is something that we need to fix.”

Alonso noted the limited usefulness of simulator work to gauge and improve balance and handling issues.

“The simulator is a little bit more, let’s say it forgives you many of the things that the track doesn’t,” he elucidated.

“And when you put the numbers, the theoretical numbers on the simulator, you just get faster without too many problems, you know, on balances, something like that.

“So simulator is great tool for the engineers, for the drivers to learn tracks and things like that.

“But for the last detail of the set-up or the last behaviour on track, I think the simulator is still not as the real car, so yeah, we need to work on Friday, Saturday on that.”

With both Alonso and Stroll struggling to extract maximum performance from the AMR24, Aston Martin faces a crucial challenge.

They need to address the car's balance problems quickly if they are to maintain their position in the midfield battle, let alone challenge for podium finishes.
The coming races will be crucial in determining their ability to overcome these hurdles.

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