Aston Martin has defined its objective for the remainder of the 2023 season: to leapfrog Mercedes and Ferrari and finish second in F1’s Constructors’ standings.
And that’s a “brave target against some fierce competition” according to Team Silverstone’s performance director Tom McCullough.
Aston hit the ground running in Bahrain with its AMR23, its second-generation ground-effects car, with Fernando Alonso finishing third and raking in five more podiums in the following six races.
However, the emerald-green team’s momentum subsided over the summer although Alonso added another second-place finish to his track record at Zandvoort.
Nevertheless, Aston has regressed to P4 in the championship, 56 points behind runner-up Mercedes and 11 points adrift of Ferrari, its nearest rival.
High-speed, low-downforce tracks are Aston’s main weakness, as its performance in Monza confirmed last time out.
But apart from Las Vegas, such venues don’t figure on F1’s schedule between now and the end of November, which bodes well for Aston reckons McCullough.
“The target is to try to get back to second in the constructors’ championship,” said the Aston engineer. “That’s a brave target, against some fierce competition.
“Mercedes have had a couple of strong events. Ferrari had their strongest event of the year at Monza, their home race.
“We’re hoping to be more competitive as we return to some of the higher-downforce tracks going forward.
“Margins are fine at this stage of the season and now it comes down to who can bring a few more developments to the track and who can execute the best weekends – operationally, and from the drivers’ side as well.”
Most F1 teams have now channeled the bulk of their resources towards their 2024 contender. But McCullough says that Aston will continue to bring changes to its car all the way to Abu Dhabi.
“We’ve been on the same development path for 18 months,” he explained. “Those philosophies haven’t really changed; we’re still bringing parts to the track between now and the end of the year.
“A lot of parts have been released a while back and by the time we get to the track, more come along. Even though the European leg of the season has finished, we’re still bringing parts to the car.
“It’s not as easy to bring those parts to the track for flyaway races and we have to account for delivery time, but we will have late freight that arrives to the track all the way until Friday morning – sometimes spares of updated parts arrive even later than that.
“It can be a real logistical challenge and some countries are harder to deliver to than others – but it’s all well planned for.”
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