Aston Martin has presented its car for the 2023 season. The AMR23 is the first model that was created with the help of prominent ex-engineers from Mercedes and Red Bull. With Fernando Alonso, the British team has also signed a prominent driver. We show the first pictures.
Aston Martin had already planned the big attack on the Formula 1 establishment before the 2022 season. Thanks to the major rule reform, the racing team from Silverstone finally wanted to close the gap to the top. But the euphoria quickly gave way to disillusionment. The AMR22 suffered from severe bouncing early in the season. The engineers had to jack up the landing gear, causing the car to fall completely out of the aero window. It produced little downforce with relatively high drag – a bad combination.
With major modifications, the technicians tried to turn things around as quickly as possible. The B version made its debut in Barcelona, which looked suspiciously like Red Bull. But the replica never matched the pace of the original. The second major upgrade of the season at Silverstone, which involved working on the side box again, was only able to alleviate the symptoms, not cure them. At the end of the year, the shape curve was on the up, but the bottom line was a disappointing seventh place in the World Championship standings.
Twelve months late, those responsible around team boss Mike Krack want to attack again with the AMR23. The engineers left no stone unturned with the new model in order to make the hoped-for big leap forward. Despite last year's bankruptcy, the racing car shows bold design solutions in many places. The technicians did not shy away from taking risks.
New artists at work
The signatures of ex-Mercedes designer Eric Blandin and former Red Bull aerodynamicist Dan Fallows are clearly visible. After the break from work, the AMR23 is the first car in which the two top-class newcomers were able to incorporate their know-how. "More than 90 percent of the components and more than 95 percent of the aerodynamic surfaces have been changed compared to the predecessor," reveals Blandin.
The regulations were stretched to gray areas: "We've implemented a few clever innovations. They're the icing on the cake - nothing crucial - but good if you have them," Blandin continued. "It's always great when you find a little loophole in the rules and can use it to your advantage. But unfortunately you can rarely build the whole car on it. It's important that the basis is right."
When you look at the car now presented, several interesting elements immediately catch your eye. The entrance of the cooling inlets in the side boxes is significantly smaller than before. The lower lip of the scoop moves slightly forward, similar to last year's Red Bull.Overall, the front part of the sidepods is narrower and heavily undercut. Aston Martin is thus following a trend that we have already seen in several other models from the 2023 vintage.
Borrowings from Ferrari and Red Bull
The top of the sidepods are heavily contoured. The air is guided past the bonnet to the rear via a long trough, as we saw from Ferrari last year. The waste heat from the drive is conducted to the outside through a wide opening at the top of the hood. We know this idea from the old Red Bull.
The nose is also very different from its predecessor. The AMR22 still wore its angular front very far above the asphalt. Now the tip protrudes significantly further to the main blade of the front wing and is more rounded. The philosophy of the front wing with its more curved flaps has also changed completely to match. Other visible innovations can be seen in the air box, but this is also due to the new regulations that were rewritten to improve safety.
"We wanted to create a good platform to build on. At the same time, we wanted to be bold and aggressive. All of the engineers pushed themselves to the limit," explained Engineering Director Dan Fallows, looking ahead to his new baby. "I am sure that it will be a big step compared to last year. At the same time, we hope to make further steps forward in the course of the year. It is quite possible that two thirds of the parts will change again by the end of the season become."
Alonso sees great potential
Aston Martin has also reorganized its driver staff. Sebastian Vettel announced shortly before the summer break that he would hang up his helmet. Just a few days later, Mike Krack was able to present the Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso as his successor. The prominent commitment shows what claims Aston Martin has. At the age of 41, the former Alpine pilot is still one of the fastest drivers in the field. If things don't go according to plan, Alonso will let those responsible feel his frustration.
The man in the second Aston cockpit also creates potential for conflict. With Lance Stroll, Alonso gets the son of team owner Lawrence Stroll as a teammate. In the past, when the question arose as to who gets new parts first, the answer was usually Stroll. Alonso will certainly not resign himself to the role of number 2 driver that easily. We are curious to see whether the team leadership will be able to prevent the Iberian volcano from erupting.
At the presentation of the new car, there were friendly words from Alonso: "I'm totally motivated. This is probably the biggest project of my life. I'm sure that this team can be at the forefront in the years to come.We need to make sure we start this year with a good base to build on. We may not be able to fight directly for victories. But in the long run we can't be satisfied with fourth, third or second places", Alonso set the direction.
Investments in infrastructure
The optimism is mainly based on the large sums of money that have been invested since the takeover by Lawrence Stroll were invested in the team from Silverstone. The workforce of the racing team has doubled to almost 1,000 employees during this time. Even with the infrastructure, the infrastructure was not spilled, but tidied up. The new factory campus is scheduled to go into operation in the next few months. Then work finally all the engineers from the design department under one roof.
It will be interesting to see how long Alonso needs to get used to his new team and his new company car. Ahead of this season, everyone involved only has three test days to get used to the track to groove in and get rid of the first teething problems.The first showdown with the competition in Bahrain begins on February 23. Then there will probably be the first answers to the question of whether the breakthrough will finally come or whether the new car is perhaps a bit too ambitious.