Aston Martin’s ‘aggressive development’ with its ‘small updates’ is paying off

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel begins to exit the Aston Martin. England, July 2022.

Sebastian Vettel beginning to climb out of the Aston Martin AMR22 at Silverstone. England, July 2022.

Tom McCullough believes Aston Martin are reaping the rewards of an “aggressive development” approach, the team comfortably out-scoring their bottom half rivals since the summer break.

Aston Martin was one of the teams, fair to say a list that included all but F1’s traditional top-three, that hoped this year’s new ground effect aerodynamic cars would shake up the pecking order.

They haven’t, the top three are still Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes just in a different order, Alpine and McLaren are again fighting for fourth, and the bottom half from last season is the same today.

In fact Aston Martin are exactly where they finished last season, P7, but with fewer points.

It is, however, progress from the start of the season when the team lagged behind, down in ninth place and struggling to pick up more than a couple of points at a time.

But opting to upgrade their AMR22 bit by bit, rather than the occasional big updates, the team has found good form of late.

McCullough puts that down to their development plan.

“We have had an aggressive development from the start of the season,” the Aston Martin performance director explained to Motorsport.com.

“Small updates have been made to the car per race. These parts do their job. The car is faster and we understand what is happening.

“Thanks to the gentlemen in development a faster car makes our work on the track a lot easier.”

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, side-by-side at the Hungaroring. Hungary, July 2022.

McCullough points out the team is “also blessed with good reliability”, Aston Martin having recorded just two car related DNFs the entire season.

That’s put them in a position to pick up points with Lance Stroll bringing home five P10 results, the single points adding up.

“Whether you score just a point, as Lance often did, or score more points when the opportunity arises, it’s about putting yourself in that position,” the former Williams and Sauber man added.

“We saw others do that at the beginning of this year and it’s nice that we can now do this ourselves.”

“The two races in Singapore and Japan gave us a lot of points, but also a better position in the championship,” he continued. “That’s what it’s about.

“With four races to go, we start it much better than Haas, AlphaTauri and almost Alfa Romeo. McLaren and Alpine are too far ahead. They are fighting for places four and five.

“But we always had the idea that P6 was possible and now we are in that fight. There is still a long way to go, but it is nice to be able to compete with different cars on different tracks.”

Can Aston Martin snatch P6 from Alfa Romeo?

Aston Martin have out-scored the other four teams in the bottom half of the grid at quite the rate since F1 returned from the summer break.

Bagging five top-ten results, including back-to-back P6s in Singapore and Japan, they have scored 25 points.

AlphaTauri have brought in seven, Williams five, while neither Alfa Romeo nor Haas have managed even a single point.

It has seen Aston Martin jump from ninth in the Constructors’ Championship to seventh, the team now just seven points behind Alfa Romeo on the log.

Alfa Romeo are expected to throw their final dice at this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, the team introducing a new floor they hope will bring them back into play by increasing the car’s downforce, and its speed.

Should the floor work, fans can expect a closely-fought battle between Alfa and Aston for P6. If it doesn’t, the AMR22 will continue to surge ahead and so will Aston Martin’s points tally.

Of course one big crash for either team – or one lucky result – could alter the story completely…

Read more: Pedro de la Rosa insists Lance Stroll is an ‘underrated’ driver