New aero regulations cost low-rake cars 1s per lap - Aston Martin

Aston Martin believes Formula 1’s new aero rules have cost low-rake cars around one second per lap of performance compared to their high-rake rivals.

New aero regulations cost low-rake cars 1s per lap - Aston Martin

The team formerly known as Racing Point endured a tough first qualifying of the season in Bahrain on Saturday, with Sebastian Vettel left "upset and angry" after getting knocked out in Q1 to line up 18th, and Lance Stroll qualifying tenth.

On a track configuration where at the end of last year the team was fighting for a podium finish, it has been left in no doubt that the floor changes for 2021 have significantly hurt the low-rake concept cars like its own AMR21 and rival Mercedes.

Speaking after qualifying, Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: “When we last raced here in Bahrain – just four months ago – we were heading for a podium, on merit, before a power unit issue ended Checo’s race.

“We will not be anywhere near that kind of performance here now, and the direct cause of that performance drop-off is the new-for-2021 aero regulations, imposed on all the teams.

“If you compare the qualifying times between those two races here in Bahrain, now and four months ago, it looks like the high-rake aero philosophy cars have gained around a second per lap compared to the low-rake aero philosophy cars. So Mercedes and ourselves are the teams worst affected.”

Insight: Why F1's 2021 rules hurt low rake Mercedes more

Szafnauer said that the situation his team faced was hard to accept, especially after so much effort had been made over the winter ahead of Aston Martin’s F1 return for the first time since 1960.

His comments followed remarks made by Lewis Hamilton after qualifying, the world champion asserting that the floor changes had been introduced "to peg Mercedes back".

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“I’m not happy,” Szafnauer said. “And when I say I’m not happy, I mean I’m not happy for our two great drivers; I’m not happy for the 500 great men and women who designed, built and are now running our new car; and I’m not happy for our sponsor-partners or our fans, either.

“Having said that, we will of course now work hard to make up as much of the performance deficit as possible in the upcoming races.”

But with the rake concept so fundamental to the overall car design, Szafnauer says there is little that Aston Martin and Mercedes can do in the short term because of strict homologation rules.

“After carefully analysing data from testing and this weekend, it is clear that the new-for-2021 aero regulations have impacted cars with a low-rake aero philosophy significantly more damagingly than cars with a high-rake aero philosophy,” he added.

“Specifically, the change in floor dimensions and profile at the rear of the cars has had a profound negative effect on the performance of cars with low-rake aero philosophy, such as our car and the Mercedes car.

“It is not only us who are speaking about this issue – Toto spoke about it in the FIA press conference yesterday.

“We cannot make a change to a high-rake aero philosophy car even if we wanted to, and neither can Mercedes, because the suspension on this year’s cars has been homologated.”

Asked if he felt the aero rules had been deliberately brought in to hinder some teams and level up the playing field, Szafnauer said: “What I’m saying is that the new-for-2021 aero regulations have impacted cars with a low-rake aero philosophy more damagingly than cars with a high-rake aero philosophy.

“So Mercedes and ourselves have suffered, whereas the high-rake aero philosophy cars such as those of Red Bull and Alpha Tauri, and McLaren and Ferrari, have not.”

shares
comments
Sainz thought Bahrain GP qualifying "was over" after Q1 glitch

Previous article

Sainz thought Bahrain GP qualifying "was over" after Q1 glitch

Next article

Mercedes “losing a little bit” with engine derating issue at Bahrain GP

Mercedes “losing a little bit” with engine derating issue at Bahrain GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021