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Aston Martin sheds light on recovery process

NEWS STORY
14/08/2021

Coming off the back of a strong 2020 in which it (as Racing Point) finished fourth, it was always unlikely that Aston Martin would be able to pick up exactly where it left off.

However, like Mercedes, the Silverstone-based outfit was particularly hard hit by the new aero rules which left the team struggling at a time the likes of McLaren and Ferrari were taking a step forward.

Scoring just five points from the opening four races, the British team began to turn things around on the streets of Monaco and Baku.

"It is a well-known fact that we started the season on the back foot, as a result of regulatory changes that had affected the aero performance of low-rake cars more adversely than high-rake cars," admits performance director, Tom McCullough. "Our car is a low-rake car.

"Mercedes' low-rake car was similarly disadvantaged, but, because it had been the class of the field in 2020, it fell back fewer places than our car did as we had been competing at the front of a very competitive midfield last year.

"At the beginning of this year we therefore slipped towards the back of that very competitive midfield, but, as I say, that was the result of the regulatory changes.

"Since then, though, I want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of very hard work that has been done by our colleagues in aero, design and manufacturing, who have tirelessly clawed back that performance deficit, inventing and making aero updates that we appraised first in CFD, then tested in the windtunnel, then, finally, manufactured and fitted to our race car.

"It was and is a more or less never-ending process of iterative development, and, as a result, there is almost no externally visible part of our car that has not been improved in some way between Bahrain and Silverstone.

"Or, to put it another way, if a part of our car is licked by the wind, we have probably updated it at some point over the past four months.

"It is working," he insists. "We know that our car is still not the fastest, but it is now closer in performance to the cars of our principal rivals than it was at the beginning of the season, and that is the result of a carefully managed programme of aero improvement that has necessarily involved trial and error but has also delivered real results.

"It has been a very impressive body of work, and I salute my colleagues for it. However, like almost all the teams, after the summer shutdown we will transfer that effort and resource to the task of making our 2022 car as competitive as possible.

"We have been impressed by both Lance and Sebastian so far this year. Lance is a very hard worker. He has done a large number of sessions in our simulator, and his contribution has been very significant.

"Our 'new boy', Sebastian, was at first disadvantaged by his initial unfamiliarity with the way our car operates and feels, then by the unreliability that he suffered in the pre-season test in Bahrain.

"But he has worked very diligently since then, in our simulator at the factory and at the circuits, to help us analyse our previous races with a view to preparing for our upcoming races in the best way possible.

"As a team, we are operating well. We do not get everything right, no team does, but we racked up nine points-scoring results in the 11 races up to and including Silverstone, our home event, which is a very creditable effort.

"Also, it is worth noting that Lance was responsible for six of those nine points-scoring results: a very consistent performance for a driver who is still only 22 years old.

"Equally, although the highlight of our first 10 races was undoubtedly Sebastian's excellent second place in Azerbaijan, it is worth remembering that, but for an accident whose causes were totally outside his control, Lance was also heading for an extremely strong finish on the tricky streets of Baku that afternoon.

"After a well-deserved rest, we will go again when we return to the fray at Spa in late August."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 18/08/2021 1:50

"@ Meatball...and their boy Lance squandered any accumulated capital by his dumb move in the first lap of the last race!!! I'm surprised that their chief whiner didn't pull his usual threat to take legal action against someone somewhere for something...especially given his form with the 'Pink Mercedes' and allegations that the missing 'litre' was in fact still in the tank? The problem with slavishly copying someone else's design is that if they have a problem then so do you....."

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2. Posted by meatball, 17/08/2021 16:33

"they sure like to pump the tires of "their boy Lance"... "

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 14/08/2021 13:42

"I'm not convinced they were that disadvantaged. You could look at it another way and say the work they've done so far this season was necessary to make up for the poor job they did over the winter....

Nothing against the team, I'd really like to see them do well but they do rather like to sell us a sob story at every opportunity."

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