Canadian GP Preview: Aston Martin prepare updates to counter Mercedes and Ferrari

Jaden Diaz
15 Jun, 2023

In the time since the Spanish GP, teams have made important preparations for the ninth round of the 2023 world championship in Canada. Red Bull will try to take an eighth victory of the season from eight races at a circuit where Verstappen claimed victory last year.

Meanwhile, after the great disappointing weekend in Spain, Aston Martin aims for a return to the podium, leveraging the fact that Montreal could be a less favourable circuit for the W14s, at least on paper.

At Ferrari, they are still looking for answers: the update package introduced in Spain has brought a few slight improvements – but has also once again confirmed the many major flaws of the SF-23.

GP Canada

Canadian GP: Medium and low-speed corners, lots of DRS in Montréal

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a total of 14 corners, three of which are taken at speeds below 130 km/h and the others at speeds between 130 and 200 km/h.

Many of these turns require a car that is stable under braking, capable of attacking the curbs, and getting good exits out of the traction zones – given this circuit has four major traction zones of the Canadian track, known as a much more rear-limited circuit than Barcelona.

Along all three main straights in Montréal, it is possible to activate the mobile wing: the longest straight without DRS is the one before the hairpin at the beginning of the third sector, where you don’t reach 300 km/h anyway.

Red Bull continues to have a major lead over the competition in this arena, while Ferrari appears to have lost ground to Mercedes and Aston Martin since the start of the season.

However, the Maranello Power Unit will be a positive for the two SF23s in gaining some time to the competition, especially in the early parts of the straights, where the SF-23 has shown good qualities since the Australian GP.

Mercedes will try to confirm the encouraging indications from Spain on a circuit with very different characteristics. In slow corners, the W14 has struggled so far, as well as in medium-speed corners – where Aston Martin has often been superior.

Fernando Alonso has announced updates to his AMR23, claiming in jest that Spain was the “last race off the podium.” Meanwhile, Ferrari is looking for some signs of life in its car, relying on the updates introduced in Barcelona.

Much like in Bahrain and Baku, strong qualifying will be important to fight for the podium on Sunday.

Pirelli chooses the three softest compounds available, namely C3, C4 and C5, just like in 2022: Max Verstappen’s winning strategy saw the Dutchman start with the medium and mount two sets of hard tires during the race. 

Some teams could try the single stop, a strategy that Charles Leclerc succeeded in, starting from the back with the C3s and then mounting the C4s with 29 laps to go. 

The chance of rain will be considered from Friday to Sunday. Twelve months ago, we witnessed a wet qualifying, so this new generation of cars is yet to complete a qualifying lap in the dry at this circuit

Canada GP Updates: Aston Martin and Alpine announce new parts for Montreal

In the event that the rain does not interfere too significantly, a medium-low downforce set-up can be expected from most teams: the more loaded wings can give an advantage in the efficiency of the DRS system and facilitate tyre management in the race.

In Canada, it is probable that we will see the cars from Maranello with the medium-low-load monopile wing.

Aston Martin will debut some new parts; Mike Krack made clear he was not worried about the difficult race in Spain two weeks ago. 

In Canada, Alpine will also bring an important package of updates, following on from the package that was introduced in Monaco. 

Encouragingly for the Enstone team, the A523 kept within touching distance of Aston Martin in Spain, confirming itself as roughly a second (or slightly less) behind Red Bull.

After a disappointing weekend at the Catalan circuit, Williams will also have several upgraded components available this weekend, and they will be fitted exclusively to Alex’s (Albon) car.”

The lack of downforce was a major problem for the Grove-based team, but on a track where efficiency is very important, the results might not be as bad as those seen in Spain.

Author: Andrea Vergani

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang

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