Fernando Alonso made the unexpected, headline-grabbing switch from a flailing Alpine F1 Team to the ultra-ambitious Aston Martin outfit, in what turned out to be one of the shrewdest Formula 1 Silly Season moves in recent memory for both parties.
Stats show that Alonso finished fourth in the 2023 F1 WDC standings, his best showing since 2013, as he arrived at an Aston Martin team with a very handy AMR23 for the Spaniard to strut his stuff.
And Alonso, being Alonso, did strut his stuff as long as the car was as good as it was in the first half of the season. It was a memorable spell as the 42-year-old Spaniard returned to the podium for only the second time since 2013, with his P3 at the 2023 season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.
What followed was six podiums in seven races for Alonso. But a slew of upgrades to the car ended their charge, as they failed to improve the package despite efforts to unlock its potential. When those came to nought – they clearly erred in understanding how to evolve the ANR23 – they reverted to the old spec and their veteran was back on the podium in Sao Paulo.
F1 Stats show that Aston Martin were beaten to P4 by McLaren in the WCC and that Alonso scored 206 points on the way to P4 in the WDC, while teammate Lance Stroll scored 74 points on his way to P10.
Aston Martin in 2023 was a very different F1 team from last year
Now that’s a big improvement for Aston Martin when you consider the 2022 F1 season, Sebastian Vettel’s last hurrah in F1 was sad as Lawrence Stroll’s team laboured to P7 in last year’s WCC, scoring only 55 points in the 22-GP campaign.
Stroll junior bagged 18 points on his way to P15 in the final 2022 F1 WDC standings, with Vettel taking home 37 points at the end of his last season in F1. The four-time World Champion’s last three seasons in the top flight were his worst in an illustrious career that saw him win 53 GPs.
Hypothetically, had Vettel stayed on and scored about twice the amount of points Stroll did (as last year) the German would’ve bagged around 150 points, which in theory is 54 less than Alonso did this year.
Furthermore, no matter the excuses or how you look at it, F1 stats will always show that 25-year-old Stroll underperformed massively compared to the driver 17 years his senior, which highlights the difference a motivated and talented driver makes, aka what Fernando did compared to Vettel.
No doubt Aston Martin has even more numbers and data to show the massive impact having a driver of Alonso’s calibre and energy in their team, while Stroll has a more-than-handy benchmark to pursue from a willing mentor.
No surprise Team Green want to retain the services of The Man from Oviedo as long as they can. Because age, in his case, is just a number. Ask anyone at the factory about The Alonso Effect and the difference it made to their team.