Aston Martin secured 5th and 9th place at the Belgian GP, a result which hardly seems worthy of an F1 news story in the context of their season. However, amidst their recent struggles with the AMR23, this double-points finish was a welcome boost for Aston.
The Silverstone-based outfit started the year in fantastic form, consistently a top-three team in terms of performance and avoiding the issues plaguing rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.
With a seemingly strong foundational concept, Aston seemed in perfect shape to have a trouble-free season.
However, an ineffective update package in Canada – alongside McLaren’s resurgence – has seen the AMR23 move backwards.
Even at a circuit like Hungary, which in theory should have been a strong track for the British squad, exposed the failed attempts to find improvements via mid-season development.
Speaking after the Belgian GP, Fernando Alonso explained why his P5 finish is so crucial:
“I was lucky at the start: I made up a few places into Eau Rouge, but then I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hold onto those positions through the first stint.
“We were fast – we kept one Mercedes and one McLaren behind us – so we were in the mix. That’s good news for the whole team as we head into the summer break.
“The car felt great today, and that really gave me confidence. This is a high-efficiency circuit. After the British Grand Prix, we were a little concerned about our performance coming here.
“The team changed a few characteristics on the car, and it really paid off.
“It’s been an incredible first half to the season: we are third in the Constructors’ Championship and third in the Drivers’ Championship. It was impossible to think of achieving this before the start of the season.”
Headlines and F1 news outlets have been increasingly critical towards Aston in recent events, consistent with their downward trajectory.
Therefore, a stronger result – as seen in Spa – was a much-needed boost for the team going into the summer break.
Moving forward, the true test will be to optimise the AMR23’s set-up and incorporate a series of upgrades that resolve some of the car’s more recent weaknesses.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang