Oct.27 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko has warned Aston Martin that it risks following Mercedes into trouble with Formula 1’s new-in-2022 ground effect technical rules.
The team started the year notably strongly, with Fernando Alonso collecting a series of early podiums. McLaren’s Lando Norris, however, observed in Austin that recent upgrades have left Aston Martin “slower and slower” every time.
Indeed, the latest big upgrade in Austin turned out to be particularly problematic, although team boss Mike Krack says the team learned a lot about how to tune the latest specification in Sunday’s race.
“Here we have two free practice sessions again so we can work on setting up the car in peace,” he is quoted by Auto Bild.
New technical director Dan Fallows, who made the switch from Red Bull, thinks Aston Martin was “steered in a certain direction by our simulation tools” for the US GP setup.
“We were simply wrong, and I think we have fixed the problem now,” he insisted.
Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, however, thinks plenty of eyes will be on Aston Martin’s form this weekend in Mexico – as the latest upgrades introduced by every team are clearly hints about their respective 2024 cars.
“I hope they find their form again,” he told f1-insider.com. “After Mexico we’ll certainly know more.
“But what if the Fallows was able to bring a lot of Red Bull’s know-how to the car this year but now he’s struggling more because he can no longer base it on the developments at his former team?” the German wondered.
“That could be a reason for their stagnation in performance,” Schumacher added.
Red Bull team advisor Dr Helmut Marko seems to have a similar opinion, warning Aston Martin of the risk of entering a long Mercedes-like slump.
“You have to know as early as possible in the season what direction you are going for next year,” he said. “If you make a mistake, you could be in for a rude awakening at the start of the new season.
“Mercedes had this experience in 2023,” Marko added.
Yet another risk for Aston Martin is that an entrenched downwards slope in car performance could bring back the worst in Alonso’s former habits.
“How long will Fernando Alonso keep quiet?” Schumacher wonders. “He is known for his ambition which can quickly escalate into a bad mood when things don’t go his way.”
Aston Martin boss Mike Krack insists he’s not worried about that.
“Fernando does put pressure on us, but in a very positive way. He is one of our biggest motivators,” he said.