‘My best season since 2012’ – Alonso full of praise for Aston Martin after bagging fourth in the drivers’ championship
Fernando Alonso’s shock move from Alpine to Aston Martin for the 2023 season paid off in style as the two-time world champion finished in the points in Abu Dhabi to come home fourth in the drivers' championship, his best finish for a decade.
Alonso finished the Grand Prix where he started, a seventh place rounding out a season that contained eight podium finishes. It was an eventful race for the Spaniard as he found himself going wheel to wheel with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda at times, in the end two-stopping on his way to that P7 finish.
With Lance Stroll gaining places and sneaking home in P10 by the narrowest of margins, the Grand Prix was a decent way to round off the season.
"If you’d told me before this weekend that I’d finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, I wouldn’t have believed you – so this is a real gift," Alonso said. "I’m really pleased with the way I’ve driven all season – I think this has been my best, most consistent season of driving since 2012. I think I got the maximum from the car all season.
"The whole Aston Martin team has worked incredibly hard, and I am already looking forward to going into the winter and starting work for next season. We started this year as an underdog, but we’ll start 2024 very much in the spotlight; we need to be ready for that.”
The team had split strategies at the start, putting Stroll on the hard compound tyre in the hopes of either one-stopping, or a late Safety Car arriving. In the end, he was forced to swap to a two-stop strategy, but was able to hold the chasing Daniel Ricciardo at bay on the final lap for his third straight points finish.
“I think we were attacking well today and making progress throughout the field. We do tend to have better pace on a Sunday, and that was definitely the case today,” he said afterwards.
“I’m pleased that we finished 2023 with some stronger performances that we can be proud of. It’s definitely been a year of learning – we’ve had ups and downs – but we’re in a good place heading into next year.
Aston Martin remain one of the most improved teams on the grid, their 55-point haul from 2022 turning into 280 by the time the fireworks went off in Abu Dhabi. Although they were overtaken in the development race by McLaren, it has still been a remarkable season for the team. And with Alonso showing no signs of slowing down, they look well placed heading into 2024.