MARCH 6, 2023
Wins, not title, possible for Alonso in 2023
Aston Martin has taken "just the first step" on the road to ultimate victory in Formula 1, team owner Lawrence Stroll said on Sunday.
Since the new green car was launched, tested and now raced, the hype has been building about what many now regard as the second fastest team behind dominant Red Bull.
"Having the second best car in the first race is just surreal," said Fernando Alonso after finishing third behind the two Red Bulls in Bahrain.
"Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari were in a league of their own last year and we thought it would take maybe two years to achieve that performance and close the gap.
"At least here, it looks like we did it in eight months."
After the race, team owner and Canadian fashion billionaire Lawrence Stroll spoke to the international media and declared that it is "just the beginning" of Aston Martin's ambitions.
"A few years ago I said we still had five seasons before we could fight for the championship," he said.
"We went from 400 to 750 people in the factory and we have a new factory coming up," Stroll added. "We have a vision and a project that will lead us to victory. This is just the first step."
Red Bull figures are already accusing Aston Martin of basically copying the energy drink-owned team's car concept, while others think it is simply proof that the new-in-2022 rules are finally working in terms of closing up the field.
"I don't think so," double world champion Alonso, 41, said.
"No. I think you need to have the vision and the ambition of Lawrence Stroll, or our leadership and our management, because the opportunities are there for everybody but it seems that only one team is willing to do whatever it takes to win."
Red Bull's Max Verstappen even agrees with that.
"It doesn't matter if it was the previous (rules) generation or this one," he said. "If you have the right people in charge, and they really want to win and they hire the right people, anything is possible."
However, the Dutchman thinks Alonso might have to wait a little longer to seriously consider securing his coveted third drivers' title.
"For this year, it's difficult to say if they're going to challenge for the championship," said Verstappen. "But race wins are definitely on the table."