‘R&D work in public’ hampers Aston Martin ahead of Brazil · F1 · RaceFans

‘R&D work in public’ hampers Aston Martin ahead of Brazil · F1 · RaceFans

Aston Martin highlighted how it has reversed its recent poor performance last weekend and how its decline is linked to its 2024 development work.

The team returned to the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix after achieving a best finish of sixth in the previous six rounds and had not had both cars in the points since the Belgian Grand Prix in July.

This drop in form coincided with them introducing a series of upgrades to the AMR23 which seemed to push their drivers lower and lower with each event.

Tom McCullough, Aston Martin’s Performance Director, explained the approach the team has taken to its recent upgrades.

“We’ve already started trying to do some big testing and understanding for next year, which we’ve done with all that data in the bank,” he said. “Now it’s about putting together the best specifications of the car, combining everything we’ve been doing, and trying to execute clean weekends because it’s difficult to do all the R&D, especially during race events.”

The team tried to avoid compromising the weekend by running its cars in the pit lane in order to make setup changes, as it had done at the United States Grand Prix two weeks earlier.

“We don’t want to start in the pits, we don’t want to do things like that. So we knew the things we wanted to accomplish on the track, and we accomplished them. Not as easily as we probably wanted it to happen, but that’s what happens when you have a bad free practice in a racing event Fast – Everything goes out of plan very quickly.

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He explained that the team “never used the same specification car” from one round to the next. “Certain tracks mean certain parts, and we are always developing the car, always trying to put together the parts that give us the best car for the requirements of that track: low, medium, high speed, straight-line efficiency. So, there are always parts that do not work as well as you want in terms of With your own development tools, such as CFDs and wind tunnels.

“We have a very good understanding of the car on track. We have done a lot of measurements, (we have put) a lot of effort into this area over the last 10 years. We can say very quickly ‘this is a good part, this is the way to go'” Because of the constraints drivers face in a very limited track at the back or through a corner “this,” or low to high speed “that.” Put the right pieces together and I think you will see that this weekend.

McCullough’s comments came after Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso placed their Aston Martins third and fourth respectively at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Later that day, Alonso took his first podium since the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, while Stroll secured his best race result in four months when he finished fifth.

“Nine weeks ago at Zandvoort we had a car that we were very happy with,” McCullough said. “It’s a bit track specific. We introduced some parts, we did some testing. We did a lot of R&D work in front of you all, over two race weekends, which in hindsight probably wasn’t the right thing to do.”

“But we are very happy because we got a good understanding of how the car will be developed, which is key for next season. That was the most important data we got. We got that, and now it’s just about trying to get as much power in the last three races as possible.

McCullough added that improvements were needed not only to the car but also to how the team approached its research and development work.

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“We had to adapt our understanding, the wind tunnel and CFDs based on these regulations. Everyone had to do that.

“We had to do some pretty extreme things to help connect those instruments, and you see a lot of aerodynamic scratches on the car. At the same time, it’s just about what the flow field does from the front of the car to the back of the car when you do it on the real car. That’s what we Need to get it.

“We’ve got that data, and it’s part of the correlation, development, and feed into next year’s car.”

Shifting the team’s focus back to maximizing their current car rather than working on development avenues for 2024 is what has enabled Aston Martin’s drivers to be more competitive in Brazil.

“The drivers were very happy,” McCullough admitted. “We’ve given them a car that they can at least drive hard on this track.”

2023 Brazilian Grand Prix

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