Written by: Fabiola Aceves
Edited by: Katie LeLasher
Courtesy of Eric Alonso/Getty Images
Fernando Alonso’s top five finishes in the first five races seem to be what “El Plan” was referring to all along.
As summer is approaching soon, the start of the inevitable “Silly season” in Formula One is upon us. It was in the summertime last year that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso announced that he would be leaving the French team Alpine and moving to the British team known as Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant. Many were shocked to hear the news because Alpine was doing better in races than Aston Martin was. Throughout his two seasons with Alpine, Alonso would mention phrases like “it is all part of el plan”, especially when he would score points for the team and especially when he scored a third place podium at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix. Which now leads to the question, what is Fernando Alonso’s plan?
Fast forward to the 2023 season of Formula One, it is a new year, new season, and new driver pairings have entered the grid. It is now Alonso’s first season at Aston Martin with his partner Lance Stroll. Fans are excited to see what this new season of speed can bring to the table. The first race of the season was in Bahrain. In this race, Alonso managed to qualify in 5th and that is how he started the race on Sunday. In a surprising turn of events, he managed to overtake both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc and obtain third place completing the podium after the Red Bull 1,2 that was made possible by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez. Aston Martin scoring points let alone a podium was something that not many expected but it was only the first race so anything could happen.
The 2nd race of the season was the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. During this race weekend’s qualifying session, Alonso was able to do better and qualify in 3rd place. However, it does not matter where you start the race but where you finish it. The race had its complications with the FIA interfering with who had placed third due to a ten-second penalty debate. With his ability to defend his starting position and the FIA reinstating his position, Alonso once again was able to finish in third place and stand on that podium. It seemed as though luck was on his side and the Aston Martin team.
Courtesy of Peter Fox/ Getty Images
Top 3 in the first 3, is not something many drivers can achieve let alone with a team that was in seventh place in the final result for the constructor’s championship last year. This however did not stop Alonso and the team from taking up that challenge. The Australian Grand Prix is a fan favorite and one of the most interesting races of the season. This year it was no different, after a total of eight drivers who did not finish the race, Alonso was once again seeing the third step of the podium on that Sunday afternoon. The consistency of the team and Alonso is a concept quite mesmerizing. The team is starting to rebrand themselves as something different than what they were last year. In 2022, it was mostly a fight between Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, and Ferrari. This year the unexpected contender that is Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso have been added to the mix.
The fourth race of the season was the infamous Azerbaijan Grand Prix held in the Baku City Circuit. With the luck that Alonso had so far, it was almost expected for him to be at one of those top three steps on that podium that Sunday. However, fate had different plans unlike the first three races Alonso did not see that third step on the podium. Unironically, that Sunday he placed fourth in the fourth race of the season. Meaning that he proved his consistency with the car and the team and remained in the top 5 of each race thus far.
It was now time to hit the streets of Miami with the second annual Miami Grand Prix. The Miami Grand Prix is one of the newest additions to the season since it was only added last year.
With a new start to the race weekend, the competition was starting to increase and so did the expectations for Alonso and Aston Martin. During the qualifying session, Alonso managed to qualify in second. Making that the best start to a race this season thus far. It seemed only fitting that consistency, strategies and resilient drive is what helped Fernando earn another third-place podium for himself and the team.
Courtesy of Thomas Miles
Consistency is one of the main attributes in winning races, that and an excellent car of course. Aston Martin and Alonso have surely excelled in those areas thus far. With it being the only first five races, Alonso has managed to finish in the top five for all of them. With his success, he has currently put Aston Martin in second place in the constructor’s championship. Although the season is just beginning, it looks like Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso have some secrets up their sleeve. As the season unravels, so will the pieces of “El Plan”.