With Aston Martin now established as a consistent podium-contending team, there is heightened scrutiny surrounding their general operations and relationships with other teams.
Christian Horner has made numerous sly remarks about the AMR23 and its design, making reference to the Silverstone team’s aggressive recruitment of personnel from Red Bull.
Although Aston Martin’s 2023 machine has several unique characteristics that differentiate it from most packages across the field, such comments are expected when a team disrupts the established order at the front.
Toto Wolff has also commented on Mercedes’ influence on Aston Martin, with the German squad producing many of the parts used on the AMR23.
Whilst none of this is especially controversial or against any F1 regulations, conversations surrounding this topic have become increasingly frequent.
Looking at this from a different angle, Aston Martin’s impressive start to the 2023 season has led to suggestions that the team would benefit from producing more of its own parts.
After all, Lawrence Stroll’s investment into constructing a new factory and other facilities in Silverstone should provide the necessary infrastructure for the team to achieve more autonomy.
In many ways, Aston Martin is already exceeding expectations as a customer team – considering that engine manufacturers tend to dominate the podium positions in F1.
Red Bull’s previous reliance on engine suppliers has proved a weakness at various stages, with the team’s close collaboration with Honda (and investment in RBPT) serving as a remedy to this vulnerability.
Returning to Aston Martin – and indeed, most customer teams on the grid – achieving greater independence is generally regarded as an important long-term goal.
Mike Krack has commented on Aston Martin’s current assessment of the parts it purchases from Mercedes and how this might evolve:
“It’s something that we need to see over the next few years, the parts we are buying – at the moment, we are buying quite a lot.
“And [we need to look at] how we can structure ourselves to do that.
“We are quite happy with what we have at this point. The service is excellent with what we’re getting, so everything is fine, and we’re not too worried.”
Although smaller teams such as Williams have prioritized other areas at the expense of greater autonomy, it is natural that Aston Martin’s proximity to Mercedes will be under scrutiny.
Mike Krack’s analysis, as ever, is well-grounded and down to earth, with the Aston team principal outlining the benefits associated with buying parts externally.
The question is not whether more parts should be manufactured internally for the sake of it, but whether or not a team’s potential is restricted by its reliance on a third party.
In the case of Aston Martin – at least for now – their current model has proven effective in facilitating their rise up the field.
From a more long-term perspective, there is certainly the case to be made that alternatives should be studied.
However, this topic seems something of a distraction from Aston Martin’s current challenges – with developing the AMR23 and sustaining the teams’ current competitiveness surely a priority moving forward.