The start of the 2022 season of formula 1 for Aston Martin it was really bad, it’s true. However, while Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia left a strong taste in the Silverstone team, the last two races – in Imola and Miami – have brought light at the end of the tunnel for the team managed by Lawrence Stroll.
Yes, there are Aston Martin growth projections. It’s undeniable: the last team to score in F1 2022 will improve, it’s a fact. The essence of this speech comes from the words of the head of the green team, Mike Krack.
“In a few races, we will be in a better situation. It would be stupid to say that the improvements will come for race X or Y, because even if you bring new parts, you will need to understand them and understand the work on them. We have our internal plans. Understand, I don’t want to explain to detail here, but I think in other races we will be in better shape.”
But the issue here is not the evolution of the team, you see. As Carlos Drummond de Andrade’s poem would say, there was a stone in the middle of the road. The problem is that the stone is Aston Martin itself.
In the Emilia-Romagna GP, the good management of the tires and the drivers and, especially, the rain, raised the Silverstone team in points. Sebastian Vettel was eighth, Lance Stroll 10th. The expectation, therefore, was to maintain a good pace for the first Miami GP in the history of formula 1 and use that to lay a solid foundation for the rest of the season.
Initially, the plan was confirmed. If it weren’t for Vettel’s mistake at the final chicane of the road circuit in South Florida, Aston Martin would have placed two of its drivers in Q3. Lance Stroll had the opportunity to compete in the final qualifying round, securing 10th place on the starting grid.
However, when Sunday came, England’s performance in the standings came to nothing. Before the race even started, a fuel tank problem prevented Vettel and Stroll from lining up on the starting grid, forcing both drivers to start the race from the pit lane. As the four-time champion did on that incredible weekend in Australia, after crashing in FP3, it was necessary to climb the mountain once more.
Unlike at Albert Park, however, Vettel – and Stroll as well – were able to climb the pack. So much so that the Canadian inherited one more position in the scoring area, after the penalty applied to the Alpine pilot, Fernando Alonso. The four-time world champion would also have scored, had he not had a collision at the end of the race with fellow countryman Mick Schumacher.
Aston Martin, however, needs to overhaul the AMR22 once and for all to prove the growth potential it has for this season. Many different problems facing the Silverstone team car are begging to be solved – and so are the drivers. Mountain climbing – weekends yes, weekends no – it’s tiring. Only then will it be possible to unlock the car’s potential once and for all.
“The first area (area of development) is aerodynamics, the most important. Then, the weight of the car, also very important. The third is how we can give better feedback to our drivers. This is about the different ‘bits’ in the suspension, steering, vertical and configuration whole of the car. So we need to try to give the driver a better feel for the car so he can get more out of it. That’s why I think we’ve had a lot of incidents, for example in Melbourne – where our drivers often left the track. It’s not unusual for pilots of this quality happen. So I think we’ve taken small steps toward that with small improvements, and we’re excited to do more,” said Mike Krack.
This is the way. The team knows, the drivers know. There is no need to work manually to stop ‘self-sabotaging’ and, from there, build results. After all, no one can stand to see the stone again, no.