Aston Martin excited to work with ‘very motivated’ Alonso as they set out ‘realistic’ target for 2023 season
Fernando Alonso will use his “competitive character” to push Aston Martin “in every area” as their time together develops, believes the team’s Performance Director, Tom McCullough.
Alonso kicked off F1’s silly season in 2022 with the announcement that he would be trading Alpine for fellow midfield runners Aston Martin – the latter two years into a five-year plan to fight for world titles.
Now aged 41, Alonso is the oldest driver on the F1 grid and remains determined to add to the two titles he achieved at Renault back in 2005 and 2006, with a string of moves – including time at Ferrari and McLaren – failing to yield further championship glory.
As the Spaniard gets settled into his new surroundings, which included an outing at the 2022 post-season test in Abu Dhabi, McCullough is well aware of Alonso’s hunger for more success, and hopes his arrival will spark an upturn in fortune for both parties.
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“I’m still getting to know Fernando. I’ll tell you one thing: he’s a very motivated and competitive character – you can see that from the outside. I’m starting to see that a little bit when I talk to him,” said McCullough.
“He is focused solely on doing well. He sees a good future with our team. He sees the journey we’re on. [We’re] really happy to have him on board our team. He’s going to push us in every area of the team.
“He’s not going to be happy fighting in the midfield. He wants to be part of the step we’re wanting to take, which is to start challenging the top three teams.”
As for when Aston Martin might be in a position to fight at the very front, McCullough reiterated that the process is a long-term one, with the team looking to build on back-to-back seventh place finishes in the constructors’ standings.
“I think fighting for World Championships next year – let’s be realistic – isn’t going to happen. We’re on a journey. We’re growing as a team. We’re getting stronger as a team,” added the British engineer.
“I think Fernando is going to add significantly to that. He’s realistic, you know. He’s on the journey with us. If we can fight the top three teams next year, I’m sure we’ll be happy with that.
“From there, [we’ll] just carry on the journey we’re on to try to catch the guys up at the front who are doing the best job at the moment.”
Alonso takes the Aston Martin seat vacated by retired four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in a multi-year contract, linking up with Lance Stroll, son of team owner and company chief Lawrence.