Aston Martin was the stand-out team from the Bahrain GP, but the British squad is confident that its AM23 machine can make significant improvements throughout 2023.
Even last season, when Aston Martin struggled significantly in the early stages, the team made notable progressive steps in the second half of the season.
From fighting against Williams in Bahrain to challenging Alpine and McLaren in Abu Dhabi, Aston’s aggressive mid-season development was evident.
The decision to change their concept at the Spanish GP, which was undoubtedly resource-intensive, proved the correct move for the team in the long term.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Fernando Alonso’s podium in Bahrain – alongside Lance Stroll’s impressive P6 finish – confirm the positive buzz that has surrounded the team over the winter.
Impressive simulator numbers have been translated on track. Unlike some of its rivals, Aston Martin can press forward with their development programme without major concerns about reliability or correlation.
Speaking to the media after Bahrain, Fernando Alonso explained that further progress is expected:
“This is not the final car. This is just the starting car of this concept that we changed over the winter.
“I think some of the top teams just kept the philosophy that they had last year; Red Bull, Ferrari, they kept more or less the same shape and just fine-tuned a few things, and that baseline they had.
“For us, it was much more difficult. We had to change 95% of the car, so I guess there is more to learn from the car, and there is more to come on our side.
“Full trust in our team, obviously. They know what to do, so let’s hopefully improve soon.”
Teams will naturally progress throughout an F1 campaign, but the potential at Aston Martin seems especially high.
In addition to their extremely strong race pace in the first round, the Silverstone-based team now has the foundations to build upon for the remainder of these regulations.
Unlike Mercedes, who face tough decisions over their concept, Aston Martin can introduce new parts to the AMR23 with the confidence they will generate the desired performance.
Considering the development of last year’s AMR22 – despite the team making a significant concept change during the season – it does not seem unreasonable for Aston to make even more positive strides in 2023.
They will also have plenty of wind tunnel time to play with, which is another advantage for a team that continues to gather momentum.
Whilst Aston Martin still has weaknesses, such as limited top speed, these are relatively minor, considering their overall performance.
Formula 1’s 23-race calendar means the Championship cannot be won or lost in the first round. Still, even conservative estimates suggest the British team has plenty to look forward to this season.
Dan Fallows insisted at the AMR23 launch that the car seen in Bahrain will only be the baseline for the team, with various new components set to be added.
Writing off Ferrari and Mercedes would be unwise, but dismissing Aston Martin’s early pace would be equally naive.