After a three-week hiatus, Formula 1 returns this weekend with its first European stop, at Imola, for the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna. Aston Martin will be hoping for a better weekend all round, as their long wheelbase and low-rake design have posed challenges to their engineers as well as their drivers. The car has lost a lot of downforce since last year. The team is expected to bring upgrades to their chassis and their aerodynamics in order to adapt to the high downforce circuit at Imola.
Sebastian Vettel cannot be blamed for enjoying what little time he might get to spend at home with his family during this year’s gruellingly long twenty-three race Formula 1 World Championship. He especially cannot be blamed for it after what was a tricky debut for the German, finishing 15th after a 10-place grid penalty, a 10-second time penalty after his clash with Alpine‘s Esteban Ocon, and the subsequent earning of Five penalty points on his Super License. Despite this poor peformance, Vettel is looking forward to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola.
“I’m excited to get going this weekend. It’s been good to have that little bit of an extra gap between these first two races – this year’s calendar won’t always be so forgiving”
Vettel recognised that the time off has allowed Aston Martin to go back to their factory and look at their Race Data in great detail in order to figure out the areas where they need to improve the AMR21 most. The veteran driver also spoke about the major differences between locations for the first two races and the separate challenges they pose drivers.
“As a track, Imola is a very different challenge to Bahrain: it’s a track that you can really attack, so I’m looking forward to it.”
He may have had a very undesirable debut weekend for Aston Martin, but this is not the time to put the four-time Formula 1 World Champion down, as a circuit like Imola is where his years of experience are sure to come into play.
Stroll looking forward to Imola challenge
22-year-old Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll stated that he enjoyed the track immensely last year and is looking forward this year to the challenge that the track presents.
“It’s an incredibly fast circuit with so little run-off – the balance between risk and reward is immense, so it’s incredibly satisfying when you get it right.”
Aston Martin did not have the greatest race back at the Bahrain International Circuit when compared to the results they had as Racing Point last year. Stroll ran as high as seventh at one point but lost out late and ended up finishing tenth, netting Aston Martin their first point as a Constructor in the Process, but the newcomers still felt like it was a disappointing outcome.
“As a team, I think we all wanted more last time out in Bahrain, so we’re all treating Imola as a fresh opportunity.“
The Canadian seemed excited about the how closely the field seemed to be matching up this season and looks up for the challenge. After some serious reliability issues in Pre-Season Testing, alongside the 2021 regulations which team principal Otmar Szafnauer believes has hit Aston Martin the hardest, Stroll emphasised the importance of a weekend without any issues for the team to get a strong result.
“We’ve seen that there’s a bunch of teams that are all extremely closely matched – so getting out of the blocks cleanly and running smoothly in every session will be vital if we want to make a difference.”