Fernando Alonso predicts tough Abu Dhabi GP unless Aston Martin solve key issue

Fernando Alonso qualified seventh for the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP, behind McLaren's Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris


Fernando Alonso fears the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be a long race for Aston Martin unless they can control tyre degradation in a congested midfield around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Aston Martin trail McLaren by just 11 points in the constructors’ standings but Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris produced a strong qualifying performance and will start third and fifth, with seventh-placed Alonso predicting his team will need a chaotic race to claim fourth overall.

Norris could also be his biggest threat in the drivers’ standings, Alonso is level on points with Carlos Sainz in fourth but his compatriot was knocked out in Q2, Charles Leclerc starts second but is 12 points back with Norris only five behind.

“I expect a tough race, I think tyres are struggling more than what we thought,” Alonso told the media. “So I think tyre management is going to be the key tomorrow. The traffic when you are in a group of cars and you fighting, the tyres seem to struggle a lot more than when you are in free air.

“But there is no free air with the gaps that we have right now, we are all in the same time laps so I think it’s gonna be a very long race for us. Obviously, McLaren is the only target that we have.

“They are both starting in front of us so we need a little bit of chaos if we want to overtake them. In a normal race, they will finish in front of us and that’s not good enough.”

Alonso effectively starting ninth

Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari garage at the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Alonso added he expects to lose track position to at least two of Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz by the end of the race, the trio will start behind the Aston Martin thanks to track limits, traffic and pace problems.

Sainz complained he was held up on his final run in Q1 as he suffered a shock early elimination, but there were no such complaints from Hamilton in the next session, he admitted he just can’t get the most out of his Mercedes W14 as he missed Q3 by just eight-hundredths of a second.

Meanwhile Perez saw his competitive final run of the day deleted so starts ninth, but Alonso said the nature of the Yas Marina Circuit will allow them to power through the field. His Aston Martin teammate Lance Stroll qualified 13th.

“It’s going to be difficult to follow just because of the tyres,” Alonso added. “They’re just struggling a lot when you follow cars but at the same time this is a track that offers two very nice DRS zones.

“And if you have more pace you overtake, so Checo‘s starting behind but just because it got deleted, he should be much faster than me and not really possible to keep him behind.

“Even Hamilton if you have the pace you overtake, so for us starting P7 is actually like starting P9 so we need to be careful with that.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
- Advertisment -


Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Forget Ferrari, McLaren are the biggest threat to Red Bull

The very fact that Lando Norris was disappointed and frustrated with finishing second at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian...
Sergio Perez looks on at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst...

Should F1 adopt a football-style transfer window for drivers? Max Verstappen is the proof...

Formula 1 is unlike any other sport, and that's fine - the F1 purists thrive on its unique qualities....

What went wrong for Will Brown, Cam Waters in NASCAR Cup debuts

The NASCAR Cup Series had some Australian flavour Sunday when Supercars Championship stars Will Brown and Cameron Waters made...

What we learned from the 2024 Canadian GP

Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium after a terrible 2024 Monaco Grand Prix with an...
Norman Nato leads the field at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024-25 calendar announced for first Gen3 Evo season

Formula E have announced its provisional calendar for the 2024-25 season, which will be the first campaign for the...
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen aces huge Canadian GP test as Red Bull and Perez falter

While Lando Norris was frustrated with his team, George Russell committed a litany of errors and Lewis Hamilton lamented...

F1 risks repeating mistake with new 2026 regulations announcement

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali unveiled the sport's much-heralded new era of racing in 2026 promising "a new generation...

F1 Winners and Losers of the 2024 Canadian GP

The dust settled on a barnstorming 2024 Canadian Grand Prix weekend with Max Verstappen returning to the top step...
George Russell at 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

George Russell mistakes exposed as Mercedes face major concern

George Russell may have started the Formula 1 2024 Canadian Grand Prix on pole position, yet there was a...
- Advertisment -