Saturday, January 29, 2022

Formula 1 News: Sebastian Vettel claims too much drag hurt Aston Martin in 2021

Formula 1 News: Sebastian says draggy car behind Aston's 2021 struggles as team boss Otmar apologises for not delivering


Formula 1 news: It is no secret that the Aston Martin F1 team has had a below-average season this year. The team which got rebranded from Racing Point, came into 2021 with its head held high as it finished P4 last year. It was quite evident that from the first race in Bahrain, Aston was clearly struggling to get it right.

Discounting some special and rather lucky performances in Monaco, Azerbaijan, and last time out in Qatar, there’s not much to talk about the season, the Lawrence Stroll-led team has had. Aston has not only lost its speed, but as a result, has also fallen way behind Alpine and AlphaTauri as it sits in P7 currently.

The team was hit hard by the sport’s aerodynamic rule tweaks for this year, meaning it already started its season on the backfoot, something that was publicly protested against by the team leaders every now and then.

Sebastian was brought on board to help the team and make it a World Championship contender, but unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far…

Formula 1 news: Honey Ryder is too draggy

We had races where the race felt really good, we had other races where I struggled a lot. Overall, what matters is how competitive you are. In competitive terms, I think our car is a bit too draggy. We are not having a super-efficient car, plus we don’t have enough downforce. That I think is the main weakness.”

Worth pointing out that Aston is overcoming or turning the negatives into positives with its clever and smart race strategies, which has often given it some valuable points. For example, Monte-Carlo where Vettel drove a beautiful race to finish in P5, or that first-ever podium for the team in Baku where the German crossed the line in P2.

Some tracks helped it, other tracks we overcame it by maybe finding a good set-up and working well on tyres and finding a good strategy. I think overall, when the car is in the window, then we can do a reasonable job and get into points. It’s first not always easy to get it into that window, and second, it’s extremely competitive in the area where we race.”

Sebastian being Sebastian, is also optimistic about 2022, but is aware of the fact that we all are stepping into the unknown: “Obviously, the big unknown is for next year – with the cars changing and so on, but we will only be able to answer that question next year. In terms of engineering and in terms of trackside, it’s (the team) strong. I think it’s growing at pace and lots of plans and good things are coming.”

Formula 1 news: Why is Aston Martin struggling so much

Like mentioned above, there were some changes on the aero side of things that hurt Aston more than any other team. There were some restrictions on trimmed diffusers, brake ventilation, underbody. Coupled with the fact that AM has a car with a low-rake angle, hence the struggle.

Boss Otmar Szafnauer says that there was only very little that the team could’ve done with the limited resources. “As soon as the architecture was frozen and the changes were made, you could only achieve a certain amount. We did our best to get something back. But at the same time, we had to stop getting downforce back for 2021 because we had limited resources and limited time in the wind tunnel.”

Now, perhaps the only positive to take from this situation is that AM is said to have switched focus to its next year’s challenger quite early in the season. Well, as soon as it knew the 2021 season was going to be a dud.

We have set ourselves aggressive but achievable goals and we are on track to achieve these aggressive and achievable goals. We are still finding good profits every week.”

Otmar has also noted how the team failed to give Sebastian a competitive car: “Unfortunately, we met him because of the circumstances in which we found ourselves couldn’t give a competitive car to drive at the top. If we give him a better car, he’ll do his job in the car, too.”


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