top of page

Losing Traction: Aston Martin

Updated: Jun 24

The performance gap in Formula One is narrowing race by race. Although Max

Verstappen remains the standard, the Red Bull team is showing signs of

weakness. McLaren and Ferrari have been improving their performance and

achieving better results in recent races. Lando Norris secured his first-ever win

at the Miami Grand Prix, whilst Carlos Sainz claimed victory for Ferrari at

Melbourne.

However, one team which has surprisingly not hit the mark is Aston Martin.

Everyone had high expectations for them to be right up there with McLaren and

Ferrari, yet the team's performances are stagnating. The team had a tremendous

rise at the beginning of 2023 but saw a decline towards the end of the season,

falling behind McLaren to 5th in the standings. Still, signs of their ambition and

potential gave everyone hope that they would be even better this season.


Struggling to gain momentum


Coming into 2024, Aston looked to regain their momentum. However, unlike

the brilliant start to last season, they seemed to lack a spring in their step. The

car was not as aerodynamically sharp as before and lacked the power to keep up

with McLaren and Ferrari. Particularly in Suzuka and Shanghai, Stroll was

vocal about the car not having the straight-line speed or grip to keep up with its

rivals.


Things took a turn for the worse in Miami and Imola. In Miami, the Astons

were half a second slower in qualifying versus the top teams. During the race,

the car seemed to struggle with cornering, having entry oversteer transitioning

to mid-corner understeer. The outcome was disappointing as they only mustered

up 2 points.

At Imola, Aston brought in 9 upgrades, with aggressive changes to the front

wing, floor, diffuser and rear suspension to improve the aerodynamics. While

the car showed improvements with its usage of the drag reduction system, it

took a massive hit on its drivability. Fernando Alonso, the most experienced

driver on the grid at Emilia Romagna, suffered his worst performance in a long

time. The car seemed almost undrivable for the Spaniard, as he suffered a first-round

qualifying exit and ended up 19th in the race.

Whilst the result was considered a one-off, alarm bells must be ringing for the

42-year-old. It is rare to see a subpar performance from the Spaniard, as he has

built a reputation for maximizing the capacity of any machine entrusted to him.

His start at Aston was incredible, delivering multiple podiums for the team.

However, progress has not been as promising as he had hoped. He has

committed to the team till 2026, and he hopes to be back in the mix fighting for

race wins once again.


Numerous Aspects to think over


At this stage of the season, Aston Martin is 101 points off of last year, the worst

difference amongst any team currently on the grid. They still lie 5th in the

standings but they have their work cut out for them. Recent performances

suggest their nearest Mercedes and even the Racing Bulls team.

The biggest weakness of the AMR24 is its aerodynamics. With the wind tunnel

at the Silverstone factory only beginning operations by the end of 2024, the

team will continue to use the Mercedes wind tunnel at Brackley. With testing

time limited by FIA rules, this makes the task even more daunting.

There is uncertainty surrounding Aston's ability to meet their ambitious

goals. They have invested a lot of money in building the factory at Silverstone

as well as recruiting Dan Fallows and Andor Hegedus from Red Bull to boost

their project. They even had talks to try and convince legendary race car

designer Adrian Newey to join the team, after he announced his departure from

Red Bull in 2025. The project from an operations perspective still seems to be

proactive, which does provide hope for the fans.

However, one of the major concerns to the Aston Martin project is…….

Lawrence Stroll. His greatest ambition is to win the F1 World Championship

with his son, Lance. Since Lance's debut, there has been substantial criticism

regarding his father's involvement in his career. Whenever it comes to Aston's

issues, fingers invariably point to the Canadian. Granted, Fernando Alonso is

not easy to beat, but Lance's performances this season have fallen short of what

Aston needs. Questions now arise as to whether or not he is worthy of that

second driver’s seat.

Another thing to consider is Honda's arrival as engine sponsors from the 2026

season. They seem to share the same ambitions as Lawrence and want to be in

the championship fight in 2026 itself. There has been much discussion about

who will take the second driver's seat at Aston for 2026. Yuki Tsunoda is the

prime contender for that seat. Honda has supported his career since 2016, and

the Japanese giants would love to bring him to the Silverstone team. Aston's

reserve driver, F2 Champion Felipe Drugovich has also been linked with the

second driver seat. Pressure will certainly be on Lawrence to make the right

decision.


Lance will also be under constant observation as he needs to step up

and prove his place in the competition. With all these complexities, things could

get ugly. If the current situation does not improve, what is an exciting project on

paper may fall apart and lead to nothing. The situation is reminiscent of

Toyota's involvement in Formula One, where despite significant investment,

their efforts did not yield the desired results. After suffering substantial financial

losses, they ultimately exited the sport. Fans hope this will not be the case with

Aston Martin.


Conclusion

A lot of eyes will now be drawn to Aston Martin for the rest of the year. The

season is not over by any means. There is still time for Aston Martin to bounce

back and get back to where they were. There is a lot to think about for

Lawrence Stroll and ultimately his decision will impact the future of the Aston

Martin project. Fans hope to see Aston Martin be right in the mix as the gap

between the teams at the top begin to decrease. Aston themselves will look to

get out of the performance slump and make better progress on the whole.



Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page