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If anyone told you that Aston Martin would be fighting for the top in 2023, you would have every reason to be skeptical. But it definitely looks like the British team is, indeed, going to be among the contenders.
In an impressive turnaround after a disappointing 2022 campaign, Aston Martin went back to the drawing board and brought a significantly different car. The changes apparently worked even better than most people imagined, as Fernando Alonso consistently found himself among the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes during the three-day test in Bahrain.
Will the pre-season pace carry over into the season? Was the pace shown in Bahrain an illusion in the desert heat? Or is Aston Martin’s new AMR 23 F1 car the real deal? And more importantly: assuming the car’s pre-season pace translates into a good start, can the Silverstone-based squad keep it up in the development race over the course of the year?
At least for now, it seems that Aston Martin will be drawing plenty of attention at the start of the year. Will it offer Alonso a chance at winning the elusive third world championship?
Formula One Aston Martin 2023 Team Preview: Top Mid-field Team or Something More Than That?
|2022 Constructors’ Standings||7th (55 points)|
In 2020, the then-Racing Point team finished seven points away from third in the constructors’ standings, with Sergio Perez scoring the team’s maiden win. The squad rebranded into Aston Martin for 2021, signing Sebastian Vettel to lead the charge.
The legendary British brand had a difficult debut year, scoring only 77 points. Things did not get any better in 2022. Once again, Aston’s hopes of becoming the top mid-field team were quickly crushed, as the AMR22 struggled right off the bat.
It was back to the drawing board for the Silverstone team, leading to a completely redesigned car showing up for the first European leg of the schedule. Mocked as a “green Red Bull”, the British squad took on many aero cues from the Austrian team in hopes of climbing up the order.
Although the new car did deliver better results, it ended up being another disappointing year for Aston Martin. The team only managed a total of 55 points, without a single podium finish. The outlook wasn’t particularly good for 2023.
Vettel announced he would be retiring at the end of 2022, and Aston suddenly found itself having to scramble for another driver. Fortunately for the team, the situation was quickly sorted out as Alonso unexpectedly became available, and the two sides struck a deal in a matter of days.
During pre-season testing, the Silverstone-based team stole the headlines. Alonso was always close to Ferrari and Mercedes’ pace, both in short and long runs. Does Aston Martin have what it takes to challenge the two teams and become Red Bull’s closest pursuer? For now, the AMR23 has shown some promising signs, and has given the squad a solid platform to develop over the course of the season.
Aston Martin Drivers in F1 2023
Lance Stroll returns for a third season with Aston Martin, and the fifth dating back to Racing Point. Alonso is signed through the 2024 season, and Aston Martin could very well be his last team in F1.
|2022 Drivers’ Standings||9th (81 points)|
Alonso has been known for his questionable career decisions, so it’s no wonder that the two-time champion raised some eyebrows when he signed with Aston Martin for 2023.
Facing uncertainty at Alpine, as the French team considered promoting Oscar Piastri, Alonso decided not to wait for a decision, and went over to Aston instead. The Spaniard’s relationship with his previous team was already fractured, largely because of his car’s reliability issues.
Having returned to F1 from a three-year “retirement”, Alonso has shown that age might be, indeed, just a number. The 41-year old beat teammate Esteban Ocon head-to-head in qualifying, and would likely have finished ahead in points were it not for the mechanical failures.
How far can the two-time champion take the legendary British brand? Alonso takes over Vettel’s role as the unquestioned team leader, and has a lot of work ahead to meet his ambitious goals. Things are off to a good start already, but Alonso is also known for pushing his team to the limits – which often leads to a split later on.
Can he turn Aston into a contender? And, perhaps more important, how long will his latest honeymoon last?
|2022 Drivers’ Standings||15th (18 points)|
Stroll had an average 2022. While he did manage to keep up with Vettel on most Saturdays, the four-time champion had a clear edge on Sundays. The Canadian was outscored 37-18, with a best finish of sixth.
His 2023 season got off to a bad start with a biking accident, which resulted in a fractured wrist. It forced Stroll to sit out of the three-day test in Bahrain, although he did manage to come back in time for the season opener.
Keeping up with Alonso is going to be extremely difficult. Assuming Aston Martin manages to stay close to the frontrunners, Stroll could end up as the weak link in the team’s bid for a top 3 in the constructors’ standings.
F1 Aston Martin Car 2023 – The AMR23
Launch day in pictures!— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) February 16, 2023
Relive the unveiling of our 2023 #F1 contender, the #AMR23, with some of our favourite photos from the launch. ⬇️
Aston Martin was one of the last teams to reveal its 2023 challenger. The Silverstone team took the wraps off its new car on February 13.
It’s quite clear that Aston Martin took a very aggressive approach with the new F1 car’s design. The AMR23 looks like a completely different car compared to its predecessor. After dropping the “bathtub” sidepods five races into the 2022 season, Aston Martin took the new downwash ramp a step further.
Adopting a similar solution seen in most 2023 cars, the AMR23 raised the front part of its sidepods, which are also much slimmer compared to last year’s car. The downwash became even more pronounced, bringing the “green Red Blue” closer to its blue counterpart.
Aston Martin also took an aggressive approach to its front wing design. The AMR22 ran a very distinctive front section. Its nose only went up to the second element, while the front wing had a raised front section. Aston dropped the concept for 2023, running the more conventional design instead. The new nose also extends all the way to the main plane, and the wing lost the unique raised center section.
So far, the radical changes have worked out nicely for the British team. Will it be able to keep up with the development race as the season progresses? If it does happen, then we could very well see Aston Martin fighting for podiums on a regular basis.