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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Aston Martin: ‘Wrong choices’ have impacted recent F1 form

Aston Martin has concluded that wrong choices it has made with development and set-up of its Formula 1 car in recent weeks is behind its recent drop in form.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Silverstone-based squad started the 2023 campaign as Red Bull’s closest challenger, scoring six podiums in eight rounds.

But since Fernando Alonso's second in Canada, it has dropped back in to the chasing pack as others like McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari have made rapid progress.

There has also been a fascinating change in its performance profile as an early season strength in low-speed corners appears to have vanished, with it no longer a Red Bull rival at the slower circuits.

While Alonso suggested over the Hungary weekend that a change in tyre specification from the British GP could have been a factor, Aston Martin’s senior management are sceptical of that.

Instead, speaking ahead of the Belgian GP, team principal Mike Krack said that the team had now concluded that a combination of car upgrades and set-up choices had triggered some “side effects” for the AMR23.

“The way we have developed the car, it's very complex,” he said.

“You change one thing, but you never change one thing and everything else is fine. You always have side effects when you do changes.

“And you need to weigh up: do you use, for example, a part that makes more downforce but has a different character, or vice versa. And we think that in one or two situations we have done not the right choice.”

Mike Krack, Team Principal, Aston Martin F1 Team

Mike Krack, Team Principal, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Krack said the team had had its suspicions recently that it had perhaps gone down a wrong path, but it was only properly confirmed after the Hungarian GP.

“Obviously, you look already before, but I think Hungary was the last element in the puzzle,” he said.

“It is a track where we expected to be a bit more competitive, and we were not. And that was the last data point to confirm that we have maybe not gone in the right direction.”

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Krack explained that work was now ongoing at Aston Martin’s Silverstone base to bring updates that can help it address some of the unintended consequences of its development path.

He expected new parts being prepared for introduction at the next few races would deliver a step forward, as he expressed some optimism about it finding solutions.

“We are very confident,” he said. “It took us now a couple of weeks to identify what the issues are, and also confirm them.

“You go to one event, you have issues, you go to another one, they are a little bit different, and then you don't know. So, you have always to wait a little bit not to take a direction.

“You could just put parts on the car for the sake of putting parts on the car. This is not what we want to do.

“But we are quite confident that what we can do over the next races will give us the improvements.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Krack was also clear that the change of tyre construction from the British GP was not a critical factor in its change of competitiveness.

“That would be an easy excuse, wouldn't it?” he said,

“We see that there is a little difference with these tyres, but they were brought in on safety. And so, from that point of view, everybody has to run them and it's the same for everybody.

“So, I think we should not use this as an excuse for competitiveness, because it's the same tyres as we have to use going forward. It's about learning as much as possible about them and moving on.”

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