Fernando Alonso believes the sprint weekend format at the Austrian Grand Prix could prove troublesome to Aston Martin as it looks to get more performance out of its latest upgrade.
Aston brought new parts to the Canadian Grand Prix and Alonso duly secured a spot on the front row in qualifying and finished second to Max Verstappen, with the final gap of less than 10 seconds being the smallest of the season so far. Heading to Austria next weekend, Alonso believes the track layout could suit his car more than Montreal but that a lack of practice is not ideal as the team looks for more data.
“I think the sprint weekend will not be ideal for us,” Alonso said. “We still have more time maybe of free practice with our new upgraded car. We still need to understand and optimize the package a little bit and in Austria, obviously with the sprint, we will have only FP1 to do that. But it is what it is.
“The circuit will be good and maybe better for the package as well. (Montreal) has a strange layout, let’s say. Maybe good for Ferrari, historically with a long straight and short corners, so maybe Austria we have a little bit more pace.”
Alonso also told Sky Sports that he is not frustrated by the advantage being held by Verstappen so far this season given where he expected Aston Martin to be at this stage, and he’s excited by the potential to close the gap to Red Bull.
“Everything is good. I cannot think of another time in my career that I was this confident with a team and with a project itself because it’s a more medium-, long-term project. I don’t know whether I will be driving. I always have in my mind ‘yes’ because as long as I feel fast and I still enjoy, why would I stop? At the moment I’m enjoying — I think there is more to come.
“I want to win a race this year. I thought maybe it was possible (in Canada) if Max had a mistake, bad pit stop or something. We were a little bit too far away to force that error. The car is going in the right direction, so more opportunities to come.”