Fernando Alonso is remaining coy over Aston Martin’s prospects for the 2023 Formula 1 season after he displayed rapid pace during Friday practice in Bahrain.
Prior to the opening race weekend, Aston Martin’s form at pre-season testing attracted attention from other parties in the paddock.
Alonso ended the opening free practice session in second place, before topping the time sheet in FP2, suggesting that its testing form was not a fluke.
But the two-time World Champion is remaining cautious over the Silverstone-based squad’s expectations.
“I don’t know exactly what position will be a good one for us,” he said.
“After testing we were thinking to be in Q3 with both cars and score as many points as possible in these first couple of races and not make mistakes.
“It’s very easy to make mistakes, it’s not the same fighting for P12 or P14 as fighting for the top five positions because the pressure is different, the adrenaline is different, so there are a lot of things that we as a team we have to grow together in this process.
“I expect that we will unfortunately make some mistakes, I may make some mistakes – it’s a completely new team, new procedures, the team as well.
“So we have to keep our feet on the ground and the target has to be fighting for the championship in the long term, I don’t think in this year yet.”
The Spaniard admitted that Aston Martin still has “to improve a few things on the car in terms of setup” ahead of qualifying on Saturday.
Alonso has joined Aston Martin’s set-up after spending two seasons at Alpine and has been embedding himself with its operations ahead of the new campaign.
Aston Martin ended the 2022 campaign seventh in the standings, but appear to have made a sizeable leap for the new season.
Despite his reservations over the car’s true pace, Alonso says that the team must be proud of its growth from to last year.
“It [the car] feels good to drive,” he said. “I would lie if I would say it is not feeling good.
“But everything is relative to what the other teams are doing and you can feel very good on one car and maybe there are three or four cars faster than you and it doesn’t feel that good anymore. So let’s see where we are.
“We have to be proud of the step that we have done. It has been a very intense two or three months’ work in the factory, we spent endless hours in the simulator and meetings trying to anticipate what problems we could face in the first couple of races.
“As I said, the knowledge that this team has, the talent that this team has is probably unprecedented – the group of people we have. So that is something that is very encouraging for the future.”