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Alonso: Friday running in Jeddah 'like a test day' for teams


Fernando Alonso says Friday's running in Jeddah will be like a "test day" for teams as everyone experiences for the first time with their new car a different track than Bahrain.

Aston Martin's scintillating form in pre-season testing and in the first race of the 2023 season elevated the team to a genuine top-three contender.

But while Alonso's podium at Sakhir was no fluke, Aston's AMR23 will need to prove its merits – like its rivals – on a very different track this weekend, and also in two weeks in Melbourne.

"There is a challenge in front of us, here in Jeddah and in Australia to see how the car operates," Alonso explained Thursday in Jeddah.

"Different winters in the past, we've been testing at Barcelona and Bahrain, so we have two references. And we only have one because we tested in Bahrain and we raced in Bahrain.

"At the moment, tomorrow's going to be like a test day for many teams, including us, trying to know the car on a different circuit and how we operate."

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Beyond the remarkable pace of its new-spec car, the Aston Martin team has also been "fine tuning" its race operations to ensure that it makes the most of its current potential and of the opportunities that come its way.

From its internal organization to how its correlates its simulator work with its track performances, a task that involves reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Drugovich, the Silverstone-based outfit is working hard to accomplish a significant step forward this season.

"We've been just fine tuning a few things in the way we prepare the race - meeting-wise, timing, presentation, focusing on the important points that you work on with your engineers and with the performance team on the weekends, but also the factory simulator work," Alonso explained.

"We have Stoffel, we have Felipe in the simulator, so we try to be aligned on the things that we wish for.

"It's very easy to get lost on the performance of the car, or on the development, when the simulator drivers ask for few things that the race drivers are not asking for when the real car is on track.

"Those kinds of things we've try to work on over the winter and I think I'm happy with how things are going, but it's only two or three months into this project and there's a lot of people who are new in the team. So, there's more things to come."

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