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How Aston Martin plans to rebound after F1 2023 development errors

Aston Martin has revealed its 2024 Formula 1 challenger, describing it as a strong evolution of last year’s machine – a car that certainly flattered to deceive.

Aston Martin AMR24

Aston Martin AMR24

Aston Martin

Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Giorgio Piola is the preeminent Formula 1 technical journalist. Born in Genoa, Italy, Giorgio has covered the F1 World Championship since 1969, producing thousands of illustrations that have been reproduced in the world’s most prestigious motor racing publications.

Aston Martin’s immense early-season form in 2023 tailed off dramatically, so a lot depends on whether it has been able to understand, recover and build on the performance that was lost throughout the course of last season.

As has become the norm with these launches, let’s start by looking at the sidepods: Aston, just as it did with Alpine’s gulley-style sidepod concept last season, has taken the foundations of an idea and presented a much more extreme example.

In this instance it’s the sidepod inlet design, as it has clearly gathered further intel on Red Bull’s inlet design, which itself went through a transformative phase last season, and incorporated a radical version of its own into the forward section of the AMR24’s sidepod. 

PLUS: How Aston Martin has evolved its F1 concept for 2024

AMR23 (left) and AMR24 (right) sidepod inlet comparison

AMR23 (left) and AMR24 (right) sidepod inlet comparison

Photo by: Aston Martin

The team had already taken a tilt at what it saw on the RB18 with last year’s car, albeit incorporating the extended lower lip into a more conventionally hooped design.

But for 2024 the sidepod features a much more elongated lower lip that sits high on the chassis relative to a conventional design, which not only enlarges the sidepod’s undercut it also adds some protection for the air flowing into the inlet from the turbulent wake generated by the tyre ahead.

The elongated panel allows the inlet to be set back and is larger than the front projection would have you believe, especially at the most outboard point, as the bodywork has been pinched at its shoulder.

Aston Martin AMR24

Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Aston Martin Racing

Thereafter, the overall concept of the sidepod is not dramatically different from last year’s design. But it’s clear that the shape has been carefully optimised not only with the internal components in mind, but also in order to take full advantage of the aerodynamic connection it has with the floor and its ancillary components.

This includes the deeper gulley approach taken with the AMR23, as the design of its successor is mindful of its starting point and how they weave down the rear of the car into the coke-bottle region.

It’s here where we find another of the changes made to the AMR24’s makeup, albeit forced upon them by Mercedes, from whom it purchases the gearbox and rear suspension, as it has made the switch from a pull-rod to a push-rod layout.

Aston Martin AMR24

Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Aston Martin Racing

Obviously, this has ramifications in terms of the packaging of the car, with the inboard suspension elements now mounted higher that will, in-turn, require the exhaust and cooling to be reconfigured.

In this respect, the engine cover outlet and the bodywork leading to it shown in the renders have been altered when compared with how the team finished out the season. But it’s a configuration we’ve seen the team use before, with another gulley created either side of the engine cover’s spine to help with flow control.

The tradeoffs of changing to a push-rod suspension layout, including the weight of the system now being in a higher position, does provide some aerodynamic advantages though. A clearer passage is created above the floor, whilst geometries that might not have been possible within the diffuser region when using a pull-rod layout are now viable too.

Aston Martin AMR24

Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Aston Martin

At the front of the car, the push-rod layout is retained, albeit with some subtle changes made to the suspension layout and the associated fairings in order to maximise their aerodynamic advantage and provide the necessary link between the front wing, the floor and the sidepod region.

The team has also switched back to a shorter nosecone arrangement, with the tip mounted on the second element, as it was in 2022, rather than on the mainplane, as it was with the AMR23. This broadly changes the nosecone’s body, albeit the general shape is much the same as last year’s challenger.

But the tip position clearly has a bearing on its relationship with the mainplane, not only structurally but from an aerodynamic perspective, which is a feature shared with how the other front wing elements are connected to the side of the nose.

In terms of the rest of the front wing, it appears that Aston is continuing where it left off in 2023, with the outboard segments of the flaps used as a means to outwash the airflow in conjunction with the endplate geometry.

Similar can be said about the floor edge, which features an edge wing in a similar vein to the one used in the latter stages of 2023, albeit optimised to suit the current geometries of the floor around it.

Not shown in the render, but seen on the car during the shakedown, the team has continued to develop the semi-detached tip section solution for the rear wing first seen at the season closer, in Abu Dhabi.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Aston Martin

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