F1 News: Analysis of season-defining Aston Martin upgrades

Aston Martin

It was business as usual for Max Verstappen in Zandvoort, but there was plenty of movement amongst the drivers and teams behind. A combination of rain, strategy, upgrades and mistakes (especially from McLaren and Mercedes) influenced the result.

Carlos Sainz finished in 5th with the SF-23, a well-deserved result for the Spaniard who avoided mistakes. He was just ahead of Lewis Hamilton (who finished P6), the retired George Russell and both McLaren drivers. These cars were comfortably faster than the Ferrari SF-23.

Pierre Gasly was one of the biggest surprises, although Fernando Alonso also captured headlines, returning to the podium in the newly upgraded AMR23.

Aston denies FIA front wing intervention, Canada upgrade determined as root issue

Lawrence Stroll’s team surprised most of the paddock with its performance in Zandvoort. Mercedes and Ferrari have grown in recent months, with McLaren joining the front-runners after Austria.

At the same time, the technical group directed by Dan Fallows ran into an inefficient development program, losing the highly sought-after correlation from the simulator to the track.

The search for efficiency, a weakness of the AMR23, saw Aston Martin lose some of its main strengths and ultimately regress to the fourth or fifth-fastest team for several teams.

The bottom and undercut introduced by Aston Martin in Canada – Illustration Rosario Giuliana

In recent weeks, there have been many theories about Aston Martin’s drop in performance. Among them was the speculated intervention by the FIA ​​in the front wing area.

The Silverstone-based team continues to deny that it was requested to modify the front wing, instead attributing their regression to failed development.

Canada appeared to be a step forward for Aston Martin, but the team’s internal analysis suggests their speed was in spite of their latest improvements.

This performance ‘obscured’ the problems from the Canada updates, which became abundantly clear in Austria.

The AMR23 lost its natural balance, became more difficult to set up and lost its sensitivity. If you add the points scored in Austria and Spa, the British team scored just 42 points, compared to 86 for McLaren, 80 for Mercedes and 69 for Ferrari.

Correlation and balance returned in Zandvoort; the AMR23 was again second-fastest

Dan Fallows and Luca Furbatto, together with Aston’s other engineers (many signed from Red Bull), have worked diligently to put themselves back on track. This is especially important to ensure good development for 2024.

The first floor changes were introduced in Spa, in a step towards the team’s baseline from Bahrain. The new component was a mix of solutions between the basic version, introduced at the beginning of the year, and the one brought to Canada.

The aim was to return to a better-known aerodynamic platform and better identify what prevented the AMR23 from reaching the desired level of efficiency.

Generally, the responses were positive as the team continued to collect data from the British GP in Silverstone. This progress was confirmed in Belgium and led to the arrival of new aerodynamic solutions – which have put Aston back on top.

Aston Martin

“My thanks go to the factory team because even though we had four races in July, they worked tirelessly to produce these new parts,” Fernando Alonso said after qualifying.

A completely redesigned rear made its debut, along with an updated version of the diffuser. The ideas are not revolutionary, taking concepts that were seen in Canada, but the newly found correlations were applied – resulting in improved performance.

The AMR23 has thus found improved load, balance and drag produced by the car.

“The data confirms that the update worked as expected. It’s a step in the right direction,” Alonso explained in Zandvoort.

There were some areas in which we weren’t good enough, but which we now understand better. This is interesting news, especially looking ahead to next year.

“We have improved in traction and cornering grip. The machine performs better, but above all, the data shows that the update has brought something.

“This confirms that what we have tested in the wind tunnel we have also seen on the track, and this is very important for the future.”

Hungary was also a high-load track, but Aston found itself over 70 seconds adrift from Verstappen at the front. With a heavy load package that had generated instabilities since Spain, the latest upgrades seem to have cancelled out this weakness.

This is how Aston Martin returned to its relative speed from early 2023, executing a better race (at least with Fernando Alonso) than its immediate rivals, bringing more points than every team except Red Bull.

The progress of the British car seemed evident. However, at Silverstone, they don’t want to get ahead of themselves – aware of what happened in Canada.

“We are back on track. However, we are waiting for other circuit layouts. We don’t expect to go back to the start of the season when we were always ahead of Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren.

“Monza is a favourable track for the SF-23. We expect to fight with Mercedes,” an inside source from the team informed us.

Authors: Piergiuseppe Donadoni & Paolo D’Alessandro

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang