Although Max Verstappen secured another victory at the Canadian GP, rivals Aston Martin and Mercedes have reasons to be encouraged by some of their recent progress.
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were able to give Red Bull something to think about in Montreal, though it would be inaccurate to overstate how much the RB19 was challenged.
Verstappen was always in control of the race, enjoying a reasonable cushion to the drivers behind.
Still, unlike in earlier events like Bahrain, Baku or Miami, Aston Martin and Mercedes were not completely blown away throughout the race distance.
A significant update package was introduced by the Silverstone-based team last weekend with the intention of rectifying the lack of performance shown in Spain’s Catalunya circuit.
Although a single underwhelming race is not enough reason to sound the alarm, the team’s disappointing P6 and P7 result was a reminder that mid-season development will be essential not only to catch up – but also to avoid falling behind in F1.
With this in mind, the improvements brought to the Gilles Villeneuve circuit were a welcome boost for Aston Martin – especially given the recent updates that Mercedes have brought to the W14.
However, there are reports that further changes will be introduced at the British GP in an effort to close the remaining gap to Red Bull.
According to the German outlet AMuS, simulator data from the Aston Martin factory suggests the AMR23 will soon be a match for Red Bull’s RB19.
Although fully trusting in simulator data can be a mistake, the Silverstone-based team has enjoyed a very reliable correlation between the simulator and the track during this generation of cars.
Furthermore, the new parts implemented in Canada – albeit with a relatively small sample size – appear to have satisfied Mike Krack, Dan Fallows and the rest of the team.
It is worth noting that technical issues in FP1 and rain on Saturday limited Aston Martin’s ability to understand its new package, so the upcoming Austrian GP will be an opportunity to further extract the new-found potential of the AMR23.
Expecting Alonso to fight Verstappen for wins consistently would likely be overly optimistic, especially given that Canada is – at least on paper – a weaker track for the Austrian team.
However, after showing an impressive rate of development in last year’s campaign, there is evidence that Aston Martin is slowly gathering momentum as they work to challenge the reigning F1 Champions.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang