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Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin shake off a rocky start to F1 pre-season testing

After a rough start to the first day of testing, Fernando Alonso salvaged the day for Aston Martin

Formula 1 Testing in Bahrain - Day One Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

The 2023 Formula 1 season got off to a rocky start for Aston Martin, even before pre-season testing got underway at Bahrain International Circuit. The team announced that driver Lance Stroll would miss pre-season testing after an accident during training, and that he would be replaced by reserve driver Felipe Drugovich.

It was Drugovich who was up first on Thursday, taking the AMR23 out to the track first for Aston Martin. Unfortunately, his session was limited by an electrical issue, which caused an early red flag during the session when the AMR23 came to a stop:

Aston Martin was able to solve the issue, and get Drugovich back onto the track, but by the time the morning testing session came to a close, the team had only posted 40 laps during the session, well behind Williams, who posted 74 with Alex Albon at the wheel:

Veteran driver Fernando Alonso was slated to take to the track for Aston Martin in the afternoon session, but even that got off to a difficult start. Alonso’s session was delayed due to an issue with the car’s floor, which was reportedly damaged during a practice pit stop.

Eventually, Alonso was able to get onto the track, and he posted one of the fastest lap times of the day, getting himself at one point up to P5 on the classification, before sliding down to P6:

Alonso even closed the gap further as the second session of the day wore on, getting into second position, just tenths behind Verstappen and ahead of the Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc. That’s where Alonso ended the first day of testing:

Following the morning session, Drugovich talked about the electrical issue, but highlighted how the team was still able to finish their entire program, making the most out of a struggle at the start:

So while it might have been a slow start for Aston Martin on Thursday, Alonso was able to help the team make the most of their time on the track.