Fernando Alonso ‘very impressive’ in first Aston Martin outing, says team principal Mike Krack

Fernando Alonso was “very impressive” on his first outing for Aston Martin, team principal Mike Krack says.

The two-time champion, 41, had a day’s testing for Aston Martin in Abu Dhabi last week to prepare for his move from Alpine for the start of next season.

Krack said Alonso was immediately fast, adding “the efficiency of transmitting messages” was “very impressive”.

“It was straight to the point at all times. Very friendly, open and transparent.”

Krack said he believed Alonso’s determination and will to win would have a transformative effect on Aston Martin.

“With Fernando, I always hold up this picture of [this year’s] Mexican Grand Prix of his frustration at not having finished seventh [because the car broke down]. This is an example of dedication and motivation.

“So if you have someone with this with this passion and drive to win, it has an impact on the team.

“And we could clearly see that everybody was really happy to have this guy in the car last Tuesday. So I think he ignited maybe another spark from his own passion and desire to win on to the team.”

Alonso replaces four-time champion Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, following the German’s retirement, and has signed a deal that will keep him at the team for at least the next two years.

Krack said Alonso was “different” from Vettel, who had driven for Aston Martin since 2021, but shared some key characteristics.

“They have different backgrounds,” Krack said. “One is Latin and one is German and that makes a big difference, but what they have in common is the focus – the focus on improving, the focus on making progress and isolating what makes us progress instead of maybe just being detailed.”

Fernando Alonso

Krack was speaking at a news conference as Aston Martin near the completion of a state-of-the-art factory at their base at Silverstone.

The event was the first time new technical director Dan Fallows had spoken to the media since joining the team from Red Bull earlier this year.

Fallows said he believed that in conjunction with aerodynamicist Eric Blandin, who joined from Mercedes at the same time, he could add a “clarity of purpose and direction”.

Fallows added: “What I have seen is a hugely passionate and very talented group of people, some of whom have been here for a very long time and have a huge amount of experience.

“The main thing for us is to make sure we draw on that experience and passion and don’t destroy that at the same time as trying to grow and turn us into a winning team.”

Fallows, who was Red Bull’s head of aerodynamics, said the key reason for his former team’s success was that they had “managed to iron out issues in in every aspect of the team”.

He added: “I do have experience of what it means to win races and championships and I think really the key message is that you just have to make sure that, in every aspect of what you’re doing, there are no holes and there are no things that can affect your performance as you go along.”

Fallows was involved in the conception of the Red Bull car that dominated the 2022 season with Max Verstappen, but he said that Aston Martin had to find their own route to success.

“The important thing for us is to make sure that we don’t just replicate what our competitors are doing,” Fallows said.

“We don’t believe that’s going to help us overtake the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull and Ferrari.

“So we have to develop our own way of doing things and that does take time.

“But we’ve got a hugely ambitious group of people and one of the things about seeing the new factory come together is it demonstrates this momentum, this wish to accelerate the process of moving up the grid and starting to get into a winning situation.

“And I think that’s what’s really going to help us get there is this passion, motivation and belief that we will get there eventually.”

New Aston Martin factory

The team are set to move into the main building of the new factory, which will house the design and manufacturing departments, in May next year.

A new wind tunnel follows in the summer of 2024 and then a third building, containing a gym, canteen, wellness centre and corporate entertainment facilities, will open the year after that.

Krack described the new factory as a “game changer” for the team in the five-year plan owner Lawrence Stroll has set them to be capable of competing at the front by 2025.

Until now, Aston Martin have been using a factory that was first built for the inception of the Jordan Grand Prix team in 1990 and have faced a testing working environment, with a small main building and various out-buildings, which makes communication difficult.

Fallow said: “Efficiency covers pretty much all of it really – efficiency in terms of costs, efficiency in terms of time.

“One of the things that marks out a competitive team is its ability to turn things around quickly, to go from design to reality in the shortest possible time.

“So there are great leaps forward you can make inefficiency with that type of facility. And obviously under a cost-cap world, anything you can do to maximise the efficiency of those parts is worth doing.”

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