Fernando Alonso, the famed Spanish racer, candidly confessed that the spate of podiums during the initial part of 2023 was somewhat surprising to the team. Each succeeding weekend, Alonso stated, feels like “a celebration” which serves to highlight the team’s significant progress from the previous year.
Whilst they celebrated a swing of triumphs with six podiums across the first eight races, a noticeable slip in performance became evident as McLaren began closing ranks and Mercedes was seen persistently leading. Alonso, however, brazenly shrugged off any concerns citing that the team’s condition is markedly healthier compared to a similar timeframe in the past year.
Reflecting on the performance boost, Alonso enthused, “The team is in very good spirits,” adding that most weekends felt like a jubilant revelry. “Last year we were in Spa, I remember after the August break I came here after signing the contract, they were ninth in the constructors’ championship. Only Williams is behind them.”
He proudly acknowledged the team’s current standing which, remarkably, is ahead of Ferrari. “So, the first half of 2023 is something that has been completely out of nowhere,” he further explained. He went on to describe the stunning initial speed demonstrated, the joy of working with the new car, the freshness of the new factory, and the invigorating energy the team possesses.
He admitted, nevertheless, that the team did experience a loss in momentum during the preceding races. He dismissed the concerns saying they are not as severe as some presume, citing their close proximity of four-tenths from pole position the previous weekend—an impressive feat given their record in the 2022 campaign.
Despite recent hiccups, Alonso suggested these challenges are steering the team in the right direction for the subsequent season. He openly admitted, “We are honest with ourselves, we need to improve. We are not hiding that, we lost performance in the last few events. We are working on that and those difficulties will make the team stronger.”
He sounded optimistic about the impending 2024 season, stressing that facing these challenges is essential in understanding the nuances of their car and the competition, thereby fortifying the team’s resilience and strength for the future.
Concluding on a philosophical note, Alonso said, “So, it’s not that I’m happy to be slow, but it was necessary sometimes in the season to have some difficult weekends.”