Aston Martin has emerged as one of the biggest surprises in Formula 1 for many seasons, making a significant leap in performance over the winter.
Last year was a difficult campaign for the British squad, with investment in new facilities and personnel failing to produce adequate results.
However, with more time to acclimatise and integrate their ideas, Dan Fallows has led Aston Martin through a transformative period – which now sees the team as one of F1’s leaders.
Whilst one race is not enough to guarantee success over a 23-race season, Aston Martin will likely compete for podiums consistently throughout the season.
The AMR23 is visibly a very different machine from the team’s first attempt under the new F1 regulations – and has already emerged as a challenger to Ferrari and Mercedes.
Strong numbers from the simulator have quickly translated to the race track, which is encouraging for the Silverstone team’s short and long-term development.
Speaking after his podium in Bahrain, Fernando Alonso explained the team’s surprise at their competitiveness – in addition to the possibility of revising expectations for this season:
“We didn’t expect to be that competitive, I think we didn’t expect to be on the podium – to be honest – in 2023.
“We thought just to start the project, change the concept of the car, try to be in the midfield, or the front part of the midfield, and eventually, in 2024, try to get closer to the midfield teams.
“And we found out that we had the second-best car in Bahrain, just behind Red Bull. So this is just an amazing surprise. Very proud of the team.
“And hopefully, from now we can build something more aggressive in terms of expectations and keep on going.
“Red Bull and Ferrari, they are just a continuation of the project they started last year.
“They are just refining that project and that car. For us, everything is new. It’s a completely new concept in the car.
“So I guess we will find more performance in the season – because everything is new – so that is very encouraging.”
During Aston Martin’s AM23 launch, Dan Fallows outlined that significant changes would be made throughout the season to complete an aggressive development plan.
Considering their substantial progression last season – in addition to Aston Martin’s elevated baseline for 2023 – there are reasons to be excited about the British squad’s prospects:
It would be a stretch to crown Aston Martin as the second or third-best team, but there are fewer question marks surrounding them than their new rivals – Ferrari and Mercedes.
Additional wind tunnel time will also prove an advantage, allowing the team to establish itself as one of Formula 1’s top teams for the foreseeable future.
Despite all the expectations and buzz generated during pre-season testing, Aston Martin has met and exceeded expectations at the start of 2023.
The never-ending development battle of Formula 1 will rage on, but it seems a new challenger has entered the equation.