RACE DEBRIEF

    Fernando Alonso has described a “very special” atmosphere at Aston Martin as he beds in at the team, having taken over the seat vacated by the retiring Sebastian Vettel.

    Having returned to F1 with Alpine in 2021 and spent two seasons with the Anglo-French squad, Alonso swaps the blue colours of the French manufacturer for the green of Aston Martin from 2023 – joining the Silverstone operation on a multi-year deal.

    READ MORE: ‘I feel honoured’ – Alonso overjoyed with first drive for ‘iconic brand’ Aston Martin at Abu Dhabi test

    Now 41, Alonso is still looking to add to the two world titles he achieved with Renault back in 2005 and 2006, with Aston Martin two years into a five-year plan to become a championship-winning F1 force.

    He got his first taste of Aston machinery when he drove for the team at the 2022 post-season test session in Abu Dhabi.

    Reflecting on his 97-lap outing at the Yas Marina Circuit, Alonso said: “We need to work hard this winter, including a lot of hours in the simulator, learning all the steering wheel controls and procedures – they are very different compared to what I’m used to.

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    Alonso made his first appearance in Aston Martin colours at the 2022 post-season test

    “I have to practice them until they become automatic, in my head, in my fingers, so I arrive [for the opening round of the season] in Bahrain at 100%.

    “Next year’s car will be very different compared to this one, so any feedback that you get from this one is not really relevant for when we drive the AMR23.

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    “But I saw some different philosophies around setting up the car, developing the car, as well as managing the power unit. There are many things that you get initial feedback from; we will have to sit down and try to get the best out of everything.

    “You can feel the energy in the team and how motivated everyone is. I can’t wait for next year. I felt a very special atmosphere in the garage.”

    Fernando Alonso's best moments of 2022

    Alonso links up with Lance Stroll – son of team owner Lawrence – at Aston Martin, having taken the place vacated by four-time champion Vettel, who spent two years there after leaving Ferrari.

    Soon to launch an all-new factory as part of their grand F1 plans, Aston Martin will be looking to rise from the P7 finish they recorded in the constructors’ standings in 2021 and 2022.