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Alonso: Saudi GP practice will be "like a test day" after Bahrain F1 running

Fernando Alonso reckons that Friday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix practice sessions will be "like a test day", citing that Bahrain has offered only one reference point for Formula 1 teams.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin Racing AMR23

Erik Junius

The 2023 F1 pre-season test was held at the Sakhir circuit ahead of the race being held at the Bahrain venue a week later, as the championship's organisers scrapped the usual Barcelona test.

With its own unique nature, featuring a plethora of low-speed corners and an abrasive track surface, Bahrain offered a snapshot of the teams' relative performance in those conditions, but Alonso suggested that the teams remain in the dark over where they stand on a smoother track surface.

The high-speed Jeddah course offers its own challenges and, having finished on the podium in his first race for Aston Martin in Bahrain, Alonso feels that the team will only have a wider understanding of its AMR23 once the next two rounds are in the books.

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

"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."

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

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Reflecting on his opening months at the Aston Martin team, where he moved to following two years at Alpine, Alonso explained that the team was fine-tuning its approach to perfect its racing preparations.

Much of that has been with regard to the simulator, and in particular ensuring that reserve duo Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Drugovich are singing from the same hymn sheet as the race drivers.

He said: "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.

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"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 kind 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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