Fernando Alonso is enjoying a miraculous start to the 2023 Formula 1 season. With four third-place finishes, along with a fourth place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the veteran driver sits third in the Drivers standings, behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez. Its success has propelled Aston Martin from the bottom of the standings up, as the Silverstone-based team are only behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings.
However, Alonso is still chasing an elusive 33rd F1 win. His last win came more than a decade ago, at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. His pursuit of another win has become something of a rallying cry, and the team pointed to Alonso’s home race – next week’s Spanish Grand Prix – as a chance to “green Spain” in its first home race with team, at the race where he last tasted victory.
But is this week’s Monaco Grand Prix perhaps a better chance to win?
There is reason to believe that Monaco could be the ideal circuit for Alonso, and AMR23. Back in April Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack pointed to Monaco as the best chance for Alonso’s “miraculous” win. Spoke to a Spanish outlet DAZN after the Australian Grand Prix, Krack had this to say about Alonso, and how a circuit like Monaco could support the AMR23: “I think there are some hints where the combination of this driver with this car could be even more magical,” said Aston Martin Team Principal.
“Monaco, Barcelona… We had a shortcoming on a very long straight, it’s no secret. We have seen it and we have a lot to work on,” he added. “On a track where it doesn’t count as much is where we can or are more confident, but being fast in this race is not everything. You have to be fast, you have to finish, don’t make mistakes and then see what the result is.”
For his part, Alonso also singled out Monaco, and its home race in Barcelona, as a potential circuit where a 33rd win could be on the horizon. Speaking on track after finishing third at the Miami Grand Prix, Alonso had this to say when asked if he could challenge Red Bull. “I think at the start of the year the podium was great. Now after four podiums we obviously want more and at least a second place,” said the veteran racer. “But, you know, the two Red Bulls were always unbreakable and always super fast. But like I said, maybe Monaco, maybe Barcelona we have possibilities.”
The belief is that the Monaco, with its tight, winding corners and emphasis on technical elements can support both Alonso and the AMR23. Combine that with the single dominance-reducing DRS zone we’ve seen from Red Bull’s impressive DRS this season, and it could open doors for Alonso this weekend.
As for Alonso’s history at the Monaco Grand Prix? The veteran driver has a pair of pole positions, and a pair of wins, as he wins in 2006 and 2007. He won from pole in 2006 while driving for Renault, and won from pole the following year, driving for McLaren. That makes him one of only 11 drivers in F1 history to secure pole position at Monaco in successive years, and the first driver in F1 history to win back-to-back races with different teams.
If Alonso makes it to Monaco with Aston Martin, he will become the first driver in F1 history to win the Monaco Grand Prix with three different teams. Ayrton Senna, who has the most wins at Monaco with six, won for Lotus and McLaren during their dominant periods in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Graham Hill, a five-time winner at Monaco, scored wins for Owen Racing and Lotus. Michael Schumacher, another five-time winner, saw his triumphs come with Benetton and Ferrari.