What made it stand out was the fact that Aston Martin’s top three finish pretty much came out of the blue for a team that had headed in to the winter quite under the radar.
Yet, over the course of a few months from finishing seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship, it has made a leap forward to produce arguably the second-fastest race car.
Such rapid progress is not the norm in F1, as teams well know it can be a hard slog to simply move up one or two positions per year.
That is why Aston Martin’s leap forward has caught the attention of many of its rivals too.
While they have to face up to someone else having done a better job, it has equally provided a good case study in the elements needed for success in F1.
Here then are the key factors that have helped Aston Martin deliver so well this year.
Rules and cost cap
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
The introduction of a cost cap in F1 was driven by two separate desires: a means of protecting teams from collapse due to out-of-control spending, and a way of helping close up the grid.
On the competitive front, the budget limit has served its purpose in holding back the top teams, as they have all had to trim back on staffing levels and the amount of cash they can fork out on car developments.
That has been especially good news for well-funded midfield teams like Aston Martin who, by operating near the cost cap limit, have had to sacrifice very little – and even be able to mould their organisations to better suit the new restrictions.
Technical director Dan Fallows says Aston Martin has been one of those squads in the sweet spot area.
“We’re in the relatively fortunate position of being able to build our team up as we get towards the cost cap,” he said earlier this year.
“We’ve been under that, so we’ve had an opportunity to look at how we would increase our spending.
“We’ve been in the position to grow relatively organically whilst staying under the cost cap.
“I think from our point of view, that is probably a benefit compared to a team that has started well over the cost cap and had to look at cutting back.”
Aston Martin Silverstone factory rendering
Photo by: Aston Martin Racing
While teams are all equal in terms of the spending they are allowed to make, they are not all the same when it comes to their facilities.
One of the explanations for why…
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