In mid-summer, the Aston Martin team announced the addition of Fernando Alonso as a new driver for the 2023 Formula 1 season to replace Sebastian Vettel, who is retiring from the top category of motorsport. The Spaniard had the possibility of renewing with Alpine, but after failed negotiations with the upper echelons of the Enstone team, the Spaniard opted to sign for the Silverstone team.
However, even before acquiring the services of the two-time world champion, the British were already planning their future, and they contacted one of the most important minds of Red Bull, the head of aerodynamics, Dan Fallows , with whom they won four world championships in the period between 2010 and 2013. In order for the English engineer to start working in his new team, he had to pass the mandatory gardering leave [a term that is called the time in which a member of a team cannot work with another to avoid a transfer of information], but that period has already passed and he has begun his work.
The Briton wants to create a fast single-seater, as he has already acknowledged, and they even feel pressure to give Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll a competitive car. In addition, Fallows recognizes the importance of having a driver with as much experience as the Spaniard at Aston Martin: “We know that Fernando [Alonso] will manifest the problems of the car, but that should not be anything new for the team.”
“With Sebastian [Vettel] and Lance [Stroll], we’ve had two drivers who have spoken out about the car, who have given their opinions and told us when they think things are wrong,” he explained to the Aston website. Martin. “I don’t know Fernando very well, so what I know about his driving style is based on what others have said. He has a reputation for driving by feeling, he really likes to feel the limits of the car.”
“If that’s the case, we have to make sure the chassis is predictable, stable, all the things we’re trying to achieve, but that will increase with someone like Fernando,” said the Englishman.
The person in charge of aerodynamics in the Silverstone team compared Alonso with another of the great names on the grid, that of the reigning world champion. Fallows worked with the Dutchman on his Red Bull stint, saying: “Max Verstappen is a very similar driver. He likes to drive at or slightly above the limit all the time, so you have to make sure the car behaves well in those conditions, I understand that Fernando is very similar”.
“There are drivers, like Fernando and Max [Verstappen], who drive these high-speed, high-downforce Formula 1 cars like karts,” he acknowledged. “I find it extraordinary that they can treat a car as sophisticated and as fast as a Formula 1 car in the same way as a kart, but they do.”
Asked if he had any karting experience, Fallows joked about taking on Alonso: “I’m not very good, but I like it. There’s a karting club at Aston Martin so I have to go to it because it’s one of the funniest things you can do, and it’s great for teams. I’m sure [Alonso] wouldn’t take more than 10 seconds off me a lap.”
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