Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack has explained the main reason why the team has slipped down the Formula 1 pecking order in recent months.
The Silverstone-based outfit commenced the campaign in strong form, finishing on the podium six times in the opening eight races with Fernando Alonso.
However, in the following eight events, the team finished on the podium just once, with Lance Stroll scoring just 12 points since the Canadian Grand Prix in the other car.
Instead of challenging for second with Mercedes and Ferrari, Aston is engaged in a fight for fourth with a resurgent McLaren, who has made seismic gains this year after starting the season as one of the slowest teams.
As of the Japanese Grand Prix, Aston Martin enjoys a 49-point advantage, but on current pace, the MCL60 is expected to gobble that up and bring McLaren into play.
At the Canadian GP, Aston brought a floor update which did not work as intended and was when the team started to struggle with rivals all bringing sizeable upgrade packages to transform their performances.
Aston - who moved into its state-of-the-art new factory earlier in the year - has not done so, with Krack simply believing the team has been out-developed.
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Krack confident over closing the gap
“Well, it's development, you see some competitors have really made, big, big progress, some less, and it's quite simple,” Krack told media including RacingNews365.
“We have not done enough.
“I think it's probably that others have filled the gap [between us and Red Bull], more than the gap has got massively bigger.
“[Suzuka] is a track that is also very special [with its mix of high-speed sweepers, hairpins and chicanes], so you have to not look at only a single track, but over the course of a couple of races [to judge where we are].
"We would have liked to have seen more performance, but there is still some to come, so I’m confident that we can close the gap a little bit."