The two-time world champion claimed his first podium since the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix when he finished third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in last weekend’s F1 season opener in Bahrain. 

What is perhaps most impressive about his feat is that it has been achieved in his first race with the Aston Martin squad, which finished seventh in the constructors’ championship last year. 

While F1 teams regularly talked about it taking years to push forward and get near the front of the grid, Aston Martin’s dramatic leap forward over one winter has caught many by surprise. 

Alonso thinks, however, that the explanation for why the Silverstone-based outfit has made dramatic progress, while others are floundering, is clear. 

He reckons he comes down simply to the passion of its team owner Lawrence Stroll, and an attitude within the Silverstone-based squad that is only concerned about success. 

“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,” he said. 

“But it seems that only one team is willing to do whatever it takes to win. And I'm proud to be part of this organisation.”

Fernando Alonso at Bahrain GP 2023

Alonso’s surprise podium finish in Bahrain has proven that the pace Aston Martin showed in pre-season testing was genuine. 

With rivals like Mercedes and Ferrari not appearing to be as comfortable with tyre degradation on their cars, Alonso looks set to have further opportunities for success.

Although race winner Red Bull was in a class of its own in the season opener, Alonso has faith that, judging by the potential of his car, he can set sights on a victory this year. 

Asked if he thinks he can win a race, Alonso said: “Yep. I would say yes because when you are P3 in race one, there are 22 opportunities this season.  

“Even last year, I remember in Canada, wet qualifying, we were in the first row of the grid. You know, anything can happen in 22 races with different conditions. And, you know I will try my best to have the opportunity.  

“Maybe we need some help. Last year, we needed some help from the top teams just to get the podium. But maybe this year, if there is this help or there are some retirements in front of us or some problems, maybe it's more than a podium. So let's hope for that.” 

Aston Martin was the second-fastest car, behind Red Bull, in race-trim in Bahrain, although Ferrari appears to have a slight edge in qualifying as it is much closer to the front over a single lap. 

But considering Aston Martin’s main opposition are in the second year of their concepts, Alonso sees every reason to believe his Silverstone-based team can bring decent developments to make it faster. 

“There are a couple of areas that we have to improve that I will not share,” he said. “But I think the most important point is that the new Aston Martin is just a new car, a new project. This is just the beginning.  

“This is not the final car, this is just the starting car of this concept that we changed over winter. I think some of the top teams, they just kept the philosophy that they had last year.  

“Red Bull or Ferrari they kept more of the same shapes. Just fine-tuning things and making perfection of that good baseline that they had.  

“For us, it was much more difficult. We have to change 95% of the car. So, I guess there is more to learn from the car, and there is more to come on our side. So full trust in our team, obviously they know what they do. So let’s hopefully improve soon.”

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