Aston Martin: Alonso won’t be happy fighting in midfield

Aston Martin Performance Director, Tom McCullough, admits the team’s new signing Fernando Alonso won’t be happy if they remain fighting in the midfield.

The 2005 and 2006 Formula 1 World Champion will join Aston Martin in 2023, jumping ship from Alpine, as he embarks on his 20th season in top flight at the age of 41.

Alonso ended his Alpine run after a disappointing season where he suffered from reliability problems, something he was vocal about, even taking swipes at the Enstone squad after leaving, not to mention the friction with former teammate Esteban Ocon that rose to the surface clearly at the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Alonso replaces Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, and needless to say, the Spaniard has a totally different character than the retiring German, something the team’s Performance Director, Tom McCullough touched upon with F1’s official website.

“I’m still getting to know Fernando,” he said. “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.

“He is focused solely on doing well,” McCullough added. “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.”

McCullough, however, is aware that Alonso will be demanding, and that he would not settle for fighting around in the back of the midfield, the position Aston Martin have been in for the most of 2022.

Alonso will make the team stronger

“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,” he pointed out.

“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.

“I think Fernando is going to add significantly to that,” the British engineer went on. “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,” McCullough concluded.

With Alonso turning 42 in July 2023, it would be interesting to see how far his patience with Aston Martin will be tested, especially if the team do not deliver a step forward next season – the Spaniard is not historically very strong in the “patience department”.