Aston Martin was certainly one of the main talking points from three days of testing in Bahrain , with the AMR23 raising expectations significantly ahead of the race weekend on Sunday.
The Silverstone-based team looks to recover from a difficult 2022, especially in the first part of the season. They were able to improve somewhat as the team developed mid-season, but a seventh-place finish in the constructors’ championship is unlikely to have pleased the team.
Aston Martin was also in hot water after breaching the budget cap last year, albeit on a much smaller scale than Red Bull.
2022 became a year to forget when it was supposed to be the year of breakthrough. The journey to becoming a top team cannot be delayed further, so 2023 represents the year in which major investments in human and material resources will have to come out with the results of the AMR23.
“Expectations are high now, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. Our goal is primarily to improve in 2022, this is our current focus,” said Team Principal Krack.
The 2023 car is the first that has been primarily influenced by Dan Fallows , the team’s new technical director who took over from Andrew Green – bringing experience from Red Bull after working with Adrian Newey.
The former Red Bull technician worked on the AMR23 car in close collaboration with the Italian engineer Luca Furbatto. The Aston Martin technical team can now depend on better infrastructure thanks to a new wind tunnel (which will be operational in a few months) and simulator.
Stroll’s team has also invested resources in administration and internal management with the arrival of Martin Whitmarsh (former McLaren Team Principal). The trump card, however, is represented by the figure of Fernando Alonso .
The Spaniard will bring all his experience and his talent to the team on and off the track.
The AMR23 impresses with its race pace – but Aston does not think they are ahead of Mercedes.
The new Aston Martin was especially impressive on the last day of testing, where Alonso completed a race simulation for the Bahrain GP, completing 57 laps (exactly the same as scheduled for the Bahrain GP).
The Spaniard showed very impressive race pace when compared to what other teams achieved. Alonso did three stints on the C3-C1-C2 compounds, respectively, always lowering his times as the car ran out of fuel.
“We followed the program foreseen for the actual race, including the pit stops according to a studied strategy.
“Ferrari was following the same programme, in exactly the same way, and I admit that we were slightly faster,” said the Double World Champion.
This was especially considering that most teams, especially Ferrari , had a sudden drop in performance over the course of the various stints.
Ahead of round one, the AMR23 seems to be the “best of the rest” behind Red Bull and Ferrari.
However, the British team wants to keep expectations low and curb enthusiasm. However, Aston Martin believes Mercedes is still ahead of them , even if it looked vulnerable over the course of testing.
Special attention must also be given to Alpine . The French have hidden far more of its potential compared to the AMR23 – but that didn’t save much during these 3 days of testing.
Lance Stroll, still in doubt, should be replaced by Felipe Drugovich , rendering unfounded the rumors that Sebastian Vettel would return to lead the English “Verdona”.
The AMR23 made huge progress by addressing porpoising
Dan Fallows’ impact on the new Aston Martin is seen quite quickly with the apparent stability of the AMR23 , capable of going fast immediately and showing consistency once it hit the track. Porpoising was not seen at all on the emerald green car, while it is still an unsolved problem for many teams.
Aston Martin’s deputy technical director, Eric Blandin , explained the following at the end of January:
“The phenomenon of aerodynamic bouncing is intrinsic to this philosophy of cars equipped with venturi channels, and it will hardly be completely annihilated if not with a radical change to the aerodynamics.”
Having overcome the “dolphin effect” trigger compared to 2022, we saw last year how advantageous it is in terms of mechanical set-up, and how important it is on these almost 800kg single-seaters.
This characteristic seems linked between Aston Martin and Red Bull.
However, it is too early to make any definitive conclusions. The team’s very accurate work on an aerodynamic level is visible, the car has many differences from last year’s single-seater, also compared to the evolutions of the other teams.
The aerodynamics of the sidepods is a clear example of this, where it was not decided to make a “copy and paste” of the RB18 as the team did with its ‘b-spec’ car last year.
Aston Martin’s AMR23 combines two philosophies from Ferrari (upper flare) and Red Bull (large undercut) to generate both load and efficiency from the car body.
The leap in performance confirms what the Aston Martin technicians had seen over the winter – a car on average over 2 seconds faster than the first version of the old AMR22 brought to the track .
This is despite the floors being raised by 15mm to counteract rebound by reducing the ground effect.
In testing, we also saw the new layout of the front brake baskets and the new positioning of the Brembo disc calliper , with the new calliper positioned lower.
This combines with the completely revised upper triangle layout, for aerodynamic purposes and to make the flow towards the bellies work better. The upper arm is practically curved and has a double slope, while the rear one has been lowered compared to the 2022 rear, taking up the Red Bull philosophy.
The Silverstone car can also now count on greater freedom in the arrangement of the ballast (located under the floor) due to the approaching of the fateful 798kg minimum weight imposed by the regulations. This is all to the advantage of the overall balance of the car.
Author: Rosario Giuliana
Co-Author: Andrea Vergani
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang