Can Aston Martin’s first ever Formula 1 car ever produced by their brand new, state-of-the-art new factory in Silverstone prove a worthy successor to its high achieving 2023 model?
When the team introduced last year’s car, its third in British Racing Green and second to F1’s ground effect regulations, they signalled their intention to build on the momentum they regained over the second half of the 2022 season.
Last year technical director Dan Fallows said they “wanted to tackle these regulations without compromise” in ther AMR22. “We want to move up the grid and start challenging the teams at the front – and you can’t do that by sitting back and being conservative.”
One full season and eight podiums later, that aggressive approach has been fully justified. But as the 2023 season ran on, the podiums and points grew increasingly scarcer. Eventually they ended up in fifth place in the constructors’ championship, behind McLaren, who overhauled them after making a slow start.
However Aston Martin’s slow rate of progress towards the end of last year was partly due to decisions they made, which Fallows expects will pay dividends with their new car.
“I think it’s no secret that we took a pragmatic approach to the end of last season,” he told media including RaceFans. “We wanted to make sure that we used every opportunity to really learn the lessons that we needed to learn on AMR23.”
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As Aston Martin faded out of regular podium contention last year, the team began to use Friday practice sessions to gain preliminary data on new parts. Infamously, it caught them out at Circuit of the Americas, where the knock-on effects of problems in the sole practice session on Friday resulted in both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll being eliminated from Q1. But Fallows believes the approach has paid off.
“We had effectively a kind of glorified test session almost in some of the races,” he explained. “But it was important for us to do that.
“We recognised that we needed to do something that was going to teach us lessons for 2024 and we did. And I think to come out of that having achieved good performances towards the end of the season, culminating in a podium in Brazil and [fifth] place [in the championship], which was a great result for us, and then to come out of that and then to obviously have that momentum going into this…