Fernando Alonso has admitted defeat in Aston Martin’s fight with McLaren after both he and Lance Stroll were forced to retire from the Mexican Grand Prix. The two-time world champion has now finished outside of the points in three of the last five races.
The Silverstone-based team started the season in unstoppable form with Alonso taking six podiums from the first eight races, giving Aston Martin a commanding advantage in second place in the Constructors’ Championship standings and setting their sights on a race win in 2023.
Unfortunately for Alonso, the development race went the way of rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren with all three teams now ahead of Aston Martin after the Mexican Grand Prix. They had hoped to keep the latter of that trio behind, but with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in strong form, this has proved impossible.
Speaking to Autosport about Aston Martin’s prospects heading into the final three rounds of the season, Alonso said: “Honestly, we are not fighting for anything. We will learn, even if we have to start from the pitlane, and you know that is more useful than just spending the weekend.
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“In the constructors’ championship, we are locked in in the position we are. In the driver’s championship, we will lose a couple of places. But I mean, it is incredible that we are in front of Ferraris, or George or Lando or whatever, but we will lose those positions. They have a very fast car. And yet, let’s see what we can do.”
At a minimum, Alonso will be hoping to take the chequered flag in Sao Paulo. Reliability issues mean he heads into the Brazilian Grand Prix off the back of consecutive retirements, while team-mate Stroll has been forced to start from the pit lane in back-to-back races.
One man who will be delighted to see Alonso throw in the towel is Norris, who has led McLaren’s charge from backmarkers to potential race winners this season.
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The 23-year-old Brit has been involved in a war of words with the Spaniard since the summer break as the rivalry between the two teams hotted up. The pair are separated by just 14 points in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the trip to Interlagos.
“It’s been clear that Aston… I don’t know, they seem to have managed to make the car slower and slower with every upgrade that they’ve bought,” Norris said a couple of weeks ago. “They were racing [Red Bull] at the beginning of the year and they were out in Q1 and then they’ve been struggling, so I don’t know what their issues are.”
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