Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that the team are already targeting podiums early in the 2021 season, and that they hope to even be in with a chance of victories in the right circumstances.
The former Racing Point outfit scored some promising results in 2020, including podium finishes for Lance Stroll and a memorable win for Sergio Perez at the Sahkir Grand Prix. Szafnauer is confident that the team - who welcome four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel as Stroll’s new teammate - can continue the impressive form they occasionally showed in the previous season.
“I think we should get out of the starting blocks quickly and fight for podiums,” Szafnauer told Auto Moto und Sport. “If things go our way, like in Bahrain or Turkey, we should be able to put the car on pole position sometimes and have the chance of a few wins.”
However, Szafnauer is reluctant to make such predictions for the 2022 F1 season, when new regulations come into effect.
“Anything beyond the season, it's much harder to predict. The rules will change profoundly. The cars will be completely different. Completely different from what we are used to. Nobody can say who will come around the corner with the right solution. We hope and are confident that we will do a good job in 2022 and beyond.”
Racing Point finished the 2020 season in fourth place in the constructors’ standings following a tight battle for third with McLaren and Renault. Szafnauer believes that the team often suffered due to pure bad luck, and is hoping that they can reach that third place spot this year.
“We want to start the season the way we finished the last one,” the team principal explained. “We had the third-fastest car for long stretches. But we only finished fourth behind McLaren. We had pure bad luck.
“For us, it will be about smoothing out the downward swings. We need more consistency in scoring. If we can do that, we can finish third. That has to be our realistic target.”