Fernando Alonso has revealed that a DRS issue affected his two runs in Q3, with both AMR23 machines suffering from the same problem that appeared in practice.
Formula 1’s new Sprint weekend format has various elements, but perhaps its most significant feature is the reduced margin for error available to teams and drivers.
Unlike in a typical race weekend, featuring three practice sessions, drivers must find an optimal set-up and acclimatise themselves in just one hour before qualifying.
This has notably impacted much of the field, most evidently seen in the gap between Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, which was a substantial 8-tenth differential when all was said and done.
Returning to Fernando Alonso’s afternoon, a lack of DRS in the final part of qualifying prevented him from achieving his true potential.
His teammate also suffered from this problem, which ultimately skewed the Silverstone team’s performance relative to its rivals.
The Double World Champion explained the impact of this dilemma post-session:
“We had a problem with the DRS in the final Qualifying session, which cost us some time,” he told the media.
“And seeing how close the classification was, we could have been in fourth. Instead, we were sixth.
“But yeah, we have a long weekend ahead of us. Tomorrow there is another qualifying and another race, so we will have more opportunities.
“This isn’t really a surprise. I think in Jeddah they were also fast, they were on the front row, but Charles Leclerc had to take a penalty.
“So I think they are normally fast, but they’ve just had bad luck.”
Alonso’s assessment seems reasonable, considering Ferrari’s current points total does not reflect their competitiveness throughout the season.
The SF-23 has obviously not lived up to the team’s high expectations, at least until Leclerc’s Pole, but even amidst their early difficulties, podiums have been possible.
Therefore, in a slightly more pronounced fashion than Mercedes in Australia (although the W14 has so far failed to keep this momentum in Baku), Ferrari has announced itself in 2023.
This will make things far more difficult for Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, who will hope they can recover from the AMR23’s early hiccup on Saturday and Sunday.