Alonso rules out podium with tyre-eating 2024 Aston

Sat, 9 March 2024, 07:00

Mar.9 (GMM) Fernando Alonso has totally ruled out racing towards the podium in Saudi Arabia – despite topping the times in practice and qualifying fourth on Friday.

“We have a very fast car on one lap,” the Aston Martin driver told the Spanish broadcaster DAZN in Jeddah, “but not such a fast car on long runs.”

While Haas has made big strides with its 2023 problems with devastating tyre wear, the same sort of issue now seems to be affecting the new Aston Martin.

The bright side is the impressive one-lap pace.

“We have been very fast, with Red Bull and Ferrari, which is surprising,” Alonso said. “And we have beaten Mercedes and McLaren again.

“We’ve made some changes for the race so we will only have the answer then. But I am well aware that five days ago we were the fifth fastest car on the grid, and in five days history will not have been changed. I expect a difficult race.”

He was asked by the Spanish sports newspaper AS to describe the problem with the 2024 Aston Martin.

“The car warms up the tyres very well,” said the 42-year-old. “It has them ready for the first lap and it is very easy to feel that on the new rubber. It extracts the maximum available grip.

“At the same time, it’s eating up the tyres a bit because of this good characteristic for one lap. So, good for you in qualifying, bad for you in the race,” he smiled. “And I always think we have less fuel and more engine map in practice, so I take it very calmly.”

Any dreams of improving from P4 on the grid to the podium on Saturday, therefore, are ruled out.

“100 percent no,” Alonso answered when asked if a podium is possible.

“In the long runs, Red Bull were 1.2 seconds faster than us and Charles (Leclerc in the Ferrari) was eight tenths faster than us. We will have to look back much more than we look forward, unfortunately.

“McLaren and Mercedes are going to be too strong. In Bahrain we were with them in qualifying and in the race they were 30 seconds ahead, which is scary.

“Sixth on the grid in Bahrain was unreal and fourth here is the same.”

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