Aston Martin’s great strides having focused on ‘Red Bull’ strength

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin, sparks flying

Aston Martin believe they'd made solid DRS gains

Aston Martin have put Fernando Alonso’s qualifying gains at the Jeddah circuit down to an improved DRS, an area the team focused on with the AMR24.

Although last season Alonso was third fastest in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, dropping to P4 this year, the Spaniard was almost a full second quicker last Friday.

‘We gain a lot of time as a result’

He posted a 1:28.730 in 2023 and upped that to a 1:27.846 this year.

Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough put that down to the improved straight-line speed of the car when the DRS is open.

“The efficiency of the car and the DRS effect is something we worked really hard on last year. We saw how strong the Red Bull was, even the year before. That was a big focus of ours,” he said.

“The difference in the DRS effect is quite strong compared to last year. We gain a lot of time as a result.”

With three long DRS activation zones at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the DRS was worth a chunk of time – almost a second in Alonso’s case.

“If you compare Fernando’s lap from last year with Friday’s, it is 8.5-tenths faster,” McCullough said as per

“Especially when you look at where it is faster. In all high-speed corners and on the straight with DRS it is much faster.

“We have a very strong DRS effect, and here there are three straights where you can use DRS in qualifying, which were worth a lot of lap time.

“This is one of the reasons why we qualified well.” recommends

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Alonso finished the Grand Prix in fifth place having lost a position to the McLaren of Oscar Piastri. His team-mate Lance Stroll, who had qualified P10, failed to score having crashed out of the race on lap 7.

McCullough revealed it’s the all-round improvement to the AMR24 that’s made the DRS gains possible.

“For a base drag level, when you open the DRS, other components also come into play, the loading of the flap, the loading of the main plane, the interaction with the beam wing and the floor,” he said.

“The interaction with all the bodywork, the shape of the engine cover, the cooling loss and how you design your cooling package.”

He added: “The rear wing we are using now is very similar to some we already had on last year’s car. But with the AMR24 we have improved the interaction with the floor, with the cooling system and with its openings.”

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