Formula 1

Aston Martin Lost Significant Performance Thanks to Pre-2021 Rule Change – Szafnauer

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Credit: Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team

Otmar Szafnauer says the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team had been worried even before the 2021 Formula 1 season began that their form from the year before would not continue, with a rule change aimed at reducing downforce affecting them more than any other team.

The two teams to suffer predominantly were Aston Martin and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, the two outfits that had been running low rake cars in Formula 1, but it affected the Silverstone-based team more and saw them drop from fourth to seventh in the Constructors’ Championship.

Szafnauer, the Team Principal and CEO at Aston Martin, says the change in regulations cost the team upwards of seven tenths of a second per lap, and as a result had a massive impact on their standing on the grid in 2021.

“What’s happened this year confirmed our pre-season worries that the unilateral aerodynamic changes that were made late in the season had a massive effect on us and Mercedes,” Szafnauer is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“Because the midfield was so tight, the lap time that we lost – seven, eight, nine-tenths of a second per lap, depending on what track we were at – moved us from the third-fastest car to about the sixth, seventh-fastest car.

“With Mercedes, they too lost because of the aerodynamic philosophy they run, but that just moved them from always being on pole to now fighting for the championship.

“For us, I think it had a much, much bigger impact, and because of it, and because of the ’22 regulations being completely different, we had to switch early on to focus all of our attention on ’22 and leave ’21 at that time.”

Szafnauer says Aston Martin did put a little effort into improving their performance in 2021, but they switched their predominant attention to the 2022 car, which will be the first to run under the new aerodynamic regulations.

“We did have a big development programme early on in ’21 to try and claw back some of the aero deficit that was put upon us,” Szafnauer added.

“We tried that early on, but we had to stick to our plan to switch over, because otherwise, you have a mediocre year this year, and then not have the optimal year that we should be having next year. So we made a conscious effort to switch over, as painful as it was.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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