Fernando Alonso, the man who once made everyone laugh when he humorously characterized his Honda unit as a “GP2 engine”, made the comment after a challenging race that placed him on the 11th position. The race wasn’t an easy one by any standards as Alonso had to serve a five-second penalty. This was the result of a mistake he made while crossing the pit entry. The drama didn’t stop there – he experienced a significant delay in the pits and wrestled, throughout the majority of the race, with his car’s aerodynamics because of a dislodged part.
The event in Singapore marked the first instance in 2023 where Alonso failed to garner any points. The situation was made all the more grim due to Lance Stroll’s qualifying accident which left Alonso as the sole racer representing the team. In consideration of the circumstances, the team’s boss, Krack, understood why Alonso was feeling frustrated.
Krack explained, “As a team, we need to acknowledge if a driver is critical”. He further stated in response to a query about Alonso’s remarks by F1 Initiative that it wasn’t unexpected considering his frustration around the performance, which hadn’t lived up to his high expectations. Krack believes it’s normal for an athlete to react like so. “We want them to give everything, and then it’s normal that also sportsmen react like that. So it’s not a problem.”
Alonso’s race in Singapore seemed to be heading in the right direction initially with expectations of a sixth-place finish. Krack shared their optimism, stating “We thought we had a good rhythm.” The team knew it would be difficult to keep up with the front runners but, nonetheless, the situation was stable when the vehicle was running on medium tyres.
However, after a safety car event, they opted for hard tyres which complicated things. Krack confessed they are still trying to understand why the hard tyres didn’t work out and how it led to the decision to change tyres when the virtual safety car came. This sequence of decisions, combined with the penalty and a problematic pitstop, resulted in Alonso resuming the race in an unfavorable position.
Alonso had shown promising performance during Friday’s practice in Singapore. Krack acknowledged the need to look at the weekend’s events to accurately gauge what went wrong. This includes investigating some minor damage to the car. He disclosed, “We had an issue on one of the suspension fairings, an aero part. We saw it on the pitstop, and we saw it in the pictures.”
Further analysing the situation, Krack spoke about the three different specifications of tyres used during the race, something else to factor in. Moreover, the close traffic often experienced in Singapore’s Grand Prix also plays a role in affecting performance, making it one of the harder races to comprehend.
As for Alonso’s pit entry mishap that resulted in the penalty, the team boss was reserved in his comments. He said, “We need to review that,” adding that before labeling it a mistake, they need to analyse whether certain pre-race settings were correctly made.
All in all, it was clear the weekend of racing in Singapore was not straightforward for Alonso and his team, with a few surprising twists and turns that warrant a deeper analysis.