The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team has not had the most ideal return to the sport for the first time in over 60 years, but the Silverstone-based team still managed to finish in a points scoring position – beginning their constructors championship haul for the year.
Otmar Szafnauer, CEO & Team Principal of Aston Martin feels that it was imperative to mark the British brands return to the sport with at least one car in a points scoring position and Lance Stroll drove very well making good use of the conventional two-stop strategy, maximising the total performance of the car and the strategy – after a particularly long first stint.
“It was important to mark Aston Martin’s return to Formula 1 with a finish inside the points. Lance drove a strong and intelligent race, making the two-stop strategy work well. I don’t think there was much more on the table, especially considering the long final stint on the hard tyres.”
In the race, Stroll was on the level with most of their other competitors, but Szafnauer believes that the new floor regulations which have come into play for 2021, have had a particularly negative impact on their ‘low rake’ philosophy which is employed by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team and themselves.
“In terms of race pace, Lance was there or thereabouts with the midfield pack, which is encouraging, but it is clear the new regulations have impacted more negatively on teams – such as ourselves – running a low rake aero philosophy.”
Sebastian Vettel, who was taking part in his first race for the team started from the back and it was always going to be very hard to recover from this to a points scoring position. A decision was made to switch to a one-stop strategy to try and score points if there was a safety car towards the end of the race. In the end it was too much of a stretch for the 4 time world-champion and the performance of his tyres fell of dramatically towards the end of the race.
“Sebastian’s race was always going to be tricky with having to recover from the back of the grid and we switched him to a one-stop strategy to give him the best chance of scoring points. In the end, it was too much of a stretch and his tyre performance fell away quicker than we had anticipated.”
The team will take all the positives and negative from the weekend and work hard over the three week break between the end of the Bahrain Grand Prix and the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
“We will take the positives and negatives from the first weekend of the season and work hard over the next few weeks to be more competitive at the next race in Imola.”