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Lando Norris & Co. Cash In on Misery as Fernando Alonso Tipped to Sink With Bleeding Aston Martin

Published 09/25/2023, 10:30 AM EDT

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Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that McLaren would be in the mix for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship, let alone podiums in every race? Definitely not Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin. Who would’ve thought at the beginning of 2023 that Aston Martin would be struggling to hold on to P4 in the championship? Definitely not Alonso. While the two-time champion saw none of this coming, he’s had to accept that Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri are genuine threats, especially after the Japanese GP.

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The 2023 Bahrain GP. Alonso: P3; Lance Stroll: P6; Lando Norris: P17; Oscar Piastri: DNF. The Japanese GP: Alonso: P8; Lance Stroll: DNF; Lando Norris: P2; Oscar Piastri: P3. This is to put into perspective just how much things have changed for Aston and McLaren since the season started. McLaren’s turnaround was for the better, and Aston’s was for the worse. And now, the Silverstone outfit is struggling to keep up, which might’ve set Alonso up for failure.

The Japanese GP was a dream weekend for Lando Norris & Co.


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Suzuka was a dream for McLaren. There’s no doubting it. After how the Woking squad started the season, only in its wildest dreams could it have hoped for a double-podium finish for its drivers. On the other hand, it was somewhat of a weekend to forget for Aston Martin. After starting the season as the second-best car, the best Alonso & Co. can hope for is P4 in the championship. Given its performances and development rate in the past few races, that place is under threat from McLaren.

Following the Japanese GP, there’s only a 49-point difference between Aston and McLaren. Around the time McLaren introduced its upgrade overhaul, Aston’s development seemed like it had come to an abrupt stop. As the Silverstone team watched Mercedes and Ferrari breeze past it in the Constructors’ Championship, McLaren has set itself up beautifully to leave Aston in its dust. Discussing this on BBC Chequered Flag Podcast, McLaren Formula E driver Sam Bird said, “I think Aston Martin would be looking over their shoulders in the fight for fourth in the Constructors’.”


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“If [McLaren] continue to get both cars in the top three or four—because [Lance] Stroll isn’t going to be scoring any points, if any, so Fernando is on his own—McLaren could more than likely catch and hopefully overtake Aston Martin,” they added. Of the 221 points Aston’s scored this season, 174 have come courtesy of Alonso. Needless to say, Stroll hasn’t done too much to help his team to that effect. In McLaren, though, Norris and Piastri are on top of their games, maximizing their opportunities. 

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If weekends like Suzuka become a regular for McLaren in the next six races, Alonso might not have any defense against McLaren’s charge. But as per the two-time champion, things might not be too bad at Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso is hopeful of Aston Martin’s upcoming upgrades

After watching what McLaren has done this season, every team is striving for a McLaren-esque development rate. Whether or not it can achieve something similar, Aston Martin is surely trying. In a post-race interview with F1, Alonso discussed his performance in Suzuka. After starting in P10, he finished in P8 behind both McLarens, Ferraris, and Mercedes. While the AMR23 may not have looked too competitive, Alonso felt he had more to extract. 


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He said, “I think today we had a little bit more than the result shows. I think P6 and definitely P7 was possible. Obviously, McLaren is a little bit too far ahead at the moment, [but] everyone is working flat out in the factory to bring some new parts before the end of the season, so let’s see what we can bring.” Aston Martin is pumping on all cylinders to finish the season in P4, but so is McLaren. P3 might be a bit too optimistic for both teams, but the fight for P4 is on.


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Watch This Story: Will Fernando Alonso & Aston Martin Be a Top F1 Championship Contender Soon?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan


One take at a time

Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare