The 2021 season was to be the one where Aston Martin F1 would confirm Racing Point’s progress; only, the aerodynamic regulations, along with the changes to the flat bottom, pushed the Silverstone team down in the hierarchy, like its “big sister” Mercedes F1.
Otmar Szafnauer, team manager, acknowledges a deep disappointment at the end of the year, while Aston Martin F1 is in no man’s land for 7th place in the constructors’ standings. At least this failure of 2021 has one virtue: the team will be able to fully concentrate on the settlement of next year.
This is also the opportunity for Otmar Szafnauer to tackle once again the change of 2021 …
“Well it was a little disappointing to start the season less competitive than we had hoped, due to the late one-sided aero changes that were made; and then we did our best to get out of that hole, but like everyone else in the middle of the grid, we had to stop developing this year’s car due to the 2022 regulations being completely different . And once we quit all we could do was get the most out of the package we had and that’s exactly what we’re going to be doing in the last few races. «
Alpine also had a car in terms of performance, yet the team is in 5th place in the constructors’ standings. Has Aston Martin F1 done everything right to master the operations in Grand Prix therefore? Or in terms of settings?
“Overall, I think so. We do a lot of work before we get to a Grand Prix in the simulator. But there are circumstances which are completely beyond our control as I said. In the last race Seb had to get off the track to avoid getting hit and there were a few crashes and things where we didn’t optimize, but those things are beyond our control. «
During this time, it is therefore around 2022 that Aston Martin F1 is focusing: Dan Fallows, Eric Blandin, Martin Whitmarsh … recruitments continue at the top of the team.
Take the Blandin case: he was Mercedes’ chief aerodynamicist, and he’s just been recruited by Aston Martin F1 to debut after a one-year notice period, only. Has this transfer gone better than that of Fallows, which Red Bull wants to block until 2023?
“Well, it was great to be able to announce Eric and he’s an aerodynamicist who can be trusted, and we can’t wait to have him on our team, but we have to respect the fact that although we buy our powertrains and our gearbox at Mercedes, we are also competing with them ,. So Eric has to observe a period of notice and that’s perfectly normal. «