Alonso: Poor Singapore pace due to suspension issue on AMR23

Fernando Alonso says he is now "a little less worried" by his Aston Martin AMR23's mediocre pace in last Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix after a damaged suspension shroud was discovered on his car.

A rear jack failure during Alonso's first pitstop and a five-second penalty for running wide at the entry of the pitlane set the Spaniard back in the race.

But it was especially the disappointing pace of his car that caught his attention and prompted him to buzz Aston's pitwall to say that his AMR23 was "undriveable".

But a postrace inspection of Alonso's machine revealed a damaged suspension shroud that had disrupted the car's aerodynamics after just a handful of laps in the race.

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In Suzuka on Thursday, Alonso did not specify how much the damage had cost him in terms of lap-time, but the F1 veteran called it "a lot".

"Definitely it was not helping," said the two-time world champion. "We know how much it affected [us], and we will not share, but it was significant.

"So I'm a little bit less worried about the performance in Singapore after knowing the damage that we had.

"The pace was not the real one in the race and, without that, maybe we could have followed the train of the leaders and have less problems with the Alpine and then with [Sergio] Perez. Then everything would be changed after.

"When you're not too fast, you get into a lot of problems."

Alonso and Aston Martin hit the ground running at the start of the season, and the pair carried their momentum into the early part of the summer.

But save for a runner-up spot behind Max Verstappen at the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, Alonso has had to make due with battling in F1's upper midfield.

However, his team's performance slump hasn't eroded his motivation or enthusiasm for Aston's "project", especially as many lessons have been learned that will benefit the team next season.

"I'm extremely happy with the project," he said. "Also in difficult races like Singapore or Monza, all our debriefs, all our meetings with the factory, they are very productive.

"It is the weekends that we learn more in the season. So the steps that we plan ahead for the future, or for next year when we come to those races, are just huge.

"I never saw that kind of scale in terms of ideas and things on the table. So the motivation that the team has to become a top team and the resources and the determination is just outstanding. I'm very happy."

Alonso also emphasized that Aston was still a work in progress compared to its direct rivals on the grid.

"We have to accept that everyone here [in F1] has a very high level. Everyone has great designers, great team, wind tunnels, all these kinds of things," he added.

"When we think about our wind tunnel that will be built next year, and we have high hopes, most of the top teams, they have that wind tunnel already for a few years. So we will just level their capacity.

"We are just now down. So this is something that we need to have our feet on the ground [for] as well."

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