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Aston Martin

Aston Martin caught out by 'harsh development race' with Ferrari and Mercedes

It was a great start to the 2023 season for Aston Martin, but they failed to keep up with Ferrari and Mercedes once they introduced their major updates after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Alonso Abu Dhabi
To news overview © XPBimages

Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack believes the team was caught out by the "harsh development race" at the front of the pack in Formula 1.

The team enjoyed a great start to the 2023 season with Fernando Alonso taking four podiums in the first five races, but that form dropped of in the middle of the year after Mercedes and Ferrari both brought significant updates to their cars.

Through much of their success the team was quick to calm any suggestions that they could challenge Red Bull for wins, despite the fact that Alonso was delivering on his pre-season hype.

Their form dropped off midway through the year, with lacklustre races at Hungary and Silverstone as McLaren overtook them. Krack explains how the team was not used to being in the intense development war among top teams.

"After two or three races we were fighting in a completely different league of teams that are used to development races much more," he told media, including RacingNews365.

"At the top there is a much harsher development race going on, so we knew that this was going to be a hard fight.

"It is probably easier to do this development when you are running in the midfield than when you're running at the front."

Aston Martin went too "aggressive" with update timeline

The team brought their last big update package to the Sprint weekend in the US including changes to the floor and diffuser, but were forced to start from the pit lane due to set up issues picked up from practice.

Alonso felt the team "payed the price" for introducing it over the Sprint weekend when drivers are restricted to one practice session, while Performance Director Tom McCullough also believes it was too "aggressive" upon reflection.

"We knew it was aggressive bringing some of the test parts we brought to Austin, which was a Sprint event, we then unfortunately operationally had some problems with brake temperatures and we didn't get the most out of that session," said McCullough.

"That put us on the back foot with quite a different characteristic car to understand, which is why we ended up starting from the back and doing some big changes.

"Was it a bit too aggressive bringing those parts to a Sprint event? We discussed a lot about doing that, and if we had a clean free practice I think we would have said that was the best thing ever to do - but we didn't."

Aston Martin ended the year fifth in the Constructors' Championship behind McLaren, with Fernando Alonso fourth and Lance Stroll 10th in the Drivers' Championship.

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