Fernando Alonso is feeling good after finishing his maiden Formula 1 run with Aston Martin in Abu Dhabi and thinks the AMR22 has “amazing” potential.
Fernando Alonso claims he was “happily surprised” following his first outing in the Aston Martin 2022 car at Yas Marina on Tuesday. He also expressed his admiration for his new team’s “amazing” potential.
The double world champion has a multi-year contract with Aston Martin and was given permission by Alpine to test the AMR22 at Yas Marina on Tuesday, albeit with a plain livery.
Alonso started working with Aston Martin immediately after ending his contract with Alpine, as he was the first driver to take to the track at the start of Tuesday’s test session.
Alonso completed 97 laps while driving an unbranded AMR22 because he is still technically under contract with Alpine. He then gave his ride to his new colleague Lance Stroll for the final round of the test.
The two-time F1 world champion set a lap time of 1m23.312s, which put him third in the standings halfway through the day, just under a second behind Ferrari pacesetter Charles Leclerc. However, lap times were inconsequential given the variety of tyre compounds and fuel loads mandated by Pirelli.
“I cannot be overconfident for sure, as everything is going to change next year,” said Alonso, quoted by MotorsportWeek. “But the feeling I had in the garage with the guys, the potential of the team, the talent that I see in the engineering room here, is outstanding, so I’m really, really, really happy right now.
“When I signed for Aston I was 90 per cent happy, when they started improving and finished the season on a high I was 100, this morning I was 100, now I’m 100 plus.”
“I was happily surprised on everything,” he added. “But this year’s car is not near what we will run next year, so it is not anything to get confident or anything like that, it’s not that it is going to be a continuation of this car.”
Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, the driver he will replace at Aston Martin, sparred in the opening stages of the F1 season finale on Sunday. Alonso said the Team Silverstone AMR22 wasn’t all that different from Alpine’s A522 as he got to know it on Tuesday.
He was especially encouraged by the AMR22’s responsiveness.
“For sure they had a very strong weekend here, Sebastian [Vettel] qualifying in front of me, so I don’t think there was much of a difference between Aston and Alpine on the weekend, and I felt basically the same as well, I felt a very competitive car.”
“Nothing really surprised me, the car was behaving well, “the 41-year-old said. “We had some concerns on the steering feedback as on Alpine the first year we had to work a lot for nearly five months on steering assistance and feedback.”
“We had some concerns that we spoke the last few weeks so it was a happy surprise that I felt ok with Aston’s system and we don’t need to change much.”