Aston Martin raised eyebrows up and down the paddock at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix as Alonso claimed a brilliant third-place finish on his debut for the team. 

Alonso, in what appeared to be the second-fastest car behind the dominant Red Bulls, was able to beat Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton in a straight fight, while teammate Lance Stroll claimed an impressive sixth despite nursing injuries sustained in a cycling accident. 

While the two-time world champion said Aston Martin will have to perform at upcoming races in Jeddah and Australia before the Silverstone team can be considered true challengers, he is excited about planned improvements in the pipeline.  

“We need to wait for Jeddah, Australia, very different tracks, so I’m curious to see if we can keep this form in different circuits,” Alonso said. 

“But, on the other hand, I think the car that we have now is just a very basic car that we launched and we start the season with this completely new concept.

“I think there is a lot more to come in terms of development with this project, so I’m optimistic for that.”

Despite Aston Martin changing “95 percent” of their car over the winter and enjoying the biggest gains of any team, Alonso insisted the AMR23 is nowhere near its full potential. 

“The most important point is that the new Aston Martin is just a new car, a new project. This is just the beginning,” he explained. 

“This is not the final car, this is just the starting car of this concept that we changed over winter.

“I think some of the top teams, they just kept the philosophy that they had last year. Red Bull or Ferrari, they kept more of the same shapes. Just, fine-tuning things and making perfection of that good baseline that they had.

“For us, it was much more difficult. We have to change 95% of the car. So, I guess there is more to learn from the car, and there is more to come on our side. So full trust in our team, obviously they know what they do. So let’s hopefully improve soon.”