Aston Martin take ‘enormous’ upgrade step as they look to win ‘development race’

Michelle Foster
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso up close with the soft Pirelli tyres. Bahrain March 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso up close with the soft Pirelli tyres. Bahrain March 2023

Aston Martin debuted their biggest upgrade of the season in Montreal with Dan Fallows conceding they don’t yet know how it will translate when it comes to lap time.

Friday’s opening practice session at the Canadian Grand Prix was a bust, the red flags out when Alpine driver Pierre Gasly ran into trouble, with that then leading to a lengthy delay as the circuit’s CCTV wasn’t working. The session did not restart.

As such the drivers were given an extended FP2 session which ended with 38 laps on the board for Fernando Alonso with the Spaniard’s best time 0.326s off the P1 time of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, while Lance Stroll covered 31 laps and was a further four-tenths down.

While from the outside it could be seen as a case of so far, so good for Aston Martin, tech boss Fallows has downplayed that.

“Certainly physically the biggest part that we put on the car, it’s enormous, but anytime you do a change to the floor it’s a pretty sizable update,” Fallows said.

“But we’ve seen that the floors and the engine covers have been sort of hot area of development. So it’s something that we’ve been working on for a while.

“We’ve sort of developed our previous concept, which is why we’ve ended up bringing this here. And you know, yes, it is a is a good step forward.

“And as far as the data is concerned, we’ll have to see exactly what that translates into in terms of lap time.”

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Having been ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari in the first six races of the season, last time out in Spain Aston Martin lost out to the B-spec Mercedes with the Brackley squad having bagged a double podium while Aston Martin didn’t feature in the top three.

Fallows accepts they’re in a development war that they need to win.

“Our strategy is just to get as much performance on the car as quickly as possible,” he said. “But it’s fantastic to be fighting with Mercedes and Ferrari – that’s a really, really great situation to be in for us.

“I always said that producing a good car at the start of the season was one part of the puzzle. It is a development race so we have to make sure that we as a team are capable of fighting in that development race. So it’s been a great test for the team.

“So far, I think the outcome has been good, but we need to keep pushing. We need to keep those updates coming to the car as far into the season with we can do.”

Pressed as to where the Silverstone needs to improve, the former Red Bull aerodynamicist said: “I think the main focus for us – and obviously we want to put more performance on the car in general – but we’ve seen over the last couple of events particularly, that our car has… there are some circuits that suit it more and some circuits that don’t suit it quite as much.

“So, we’ve looked at concentrating on broadening that operating window of the car, and that’s particularly what we’re focussed on with these updates.”

Alonso was fourth fastest in Friday’s practice for the Canadian GP, 0.326s off the pace, with Lance Stroll P9.