Aston Martin must fix this Achilles heel in F1 2024

Jaden Diaz
12 Mar, 2024

Aston Martin has reasons to be encouraged in early 2024, but there is a glaring weakness that must be eliminated from the AMR24. Until the next sequence of Grand Prix begins, it will be difficult to assess the team’s progress on this issue.

Fernando Alonso finished in a respectable P5 in Jeddah, the team’s best showing in 2024. The British outfit managed to finish ahead of a Ferrari, a McLaren and both Mercedes W15 cars.

With Oscar Piastri within touching distance in P4, this was a reasonable showing on paper. However, this improved race performance relative to Bahrain still reveals a fundamental weakness.

Last season, the Silverstone-based team were more competitive on race day than in qualifying.

This strength in high fuel was magnified by Ferrari, who struggled with tyre management over the race distance. Unfortunately for Aston Martin, this is no longer a problem for the SF-24.

By contrast, the AMR24 is significantly worse on high-fuel than in qualifying trim.

This was abundantly clear in Sakhir, with Alonso dropping from P5 on the grid to P9 on the chequered flag – spending most of his race in no man’s land.

Arabia Saudita

Relative to their immediate rivals, Aston Martin limited the damage last time out. The Spaniard was only slightly slower than the McLaren’s and consistently matched the Mercedes duo.

However, the most relevant deficit is the one to Red Bull and Ferrari.

In the first sector alone, Fernando Alonso was four-tenths slower than Max Verstappen on race day. To put this into perspective, he was setting practically identical first sectors to the Dutchman in qualifying.

Across the entire lap, the AMR24 was losing about eight-tenths to the RB20. Considering the car’s raw potential in low-fuel, this is a frustrating piece of data for Mike Krack’s team to reconcile.

Compared to the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, the deficit was roughly four-tenths. Once again, this is a substantial step backwards relative to qualifying – preventing the team from fighting for the podium.

The team’s DRS advantage over McLaren is also negated in race trim, which costs them time to the Woking outfit.

Tyre degradation was much-improved relative to Bahrain, and this is a reason for Aston Martin to be pleased.

Despite this, the inherently tyre-friendly characteristics of the Jeddah circuit somewhat minimise this accomplishment. The upcoming rounds in Australia, Japan and China will provide a clearer picture.

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24 leaves the pits.
01.03.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Qualifying Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

If Dan Fallows and his technical team can resolve this limitation, Aston Martin F1 will be within striking range of podium positions.

Moreover, mid-season development should be far easier compared to last season – granting Fernando Alonso the opportunity to fight for podiums in 2024.

However, there are obvious parallels between this year’s AMR24 and the SF-23 of last season.

Whilst a direct comparison is not entirely accurate, it still demonstrates some of the pitfalls that Aston Martin must resolve in the near future.

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