Are ‘cheeky’ Aston Martin holding something back with ‘dramatically different’ AMR23?

Henry Valantine
Aston Martin AMR23 floor. Canada June 2023.

A closer look at the upgraded floor of the Aston Martin AMR23.

Aston Martin brought major upgrades with them to Canada this weekend, and while the team themselves acknowledged they were “enormous” in sheer size, the way they were described in public was somewhat understated.

The FIA provide a document at each race weekend detailing each of the team’s upgrades brought with them, but Formula 1 tech expert Sam Collins believe Aston Martin may have been somewhat “cheeky” in not giving too much of the game away about the scale of their improvements to the AMR23.

The performance improvements listed for Aston Martin this weekend were publicly listed as an updated floor and a new engine cover, but what appeared when the cars broke cover were significant changes to the shape of their sidepods, coupled in with visible changes to floor edges and the rear of the car.

With the way Aston Martin have started the season, their upgrade approach so far in 2023 had been a case of evolution rather than revolution, but Canada signalled a significant change in direction – with the team looking to reel in Red Bull and establish themselves above their rivals in the ‘best of the rest’ category.

And once the upgraded AMR23 was on show, while analysing the car in depth, Collins believes there is much more than meets the eye.

“Now, when teams bring big upgrades to the car for any single Grand Prix, they have to advise the FIA in advance of what they’ve changed and then a document’s produced that’s shared with all of the media listing all of the upgrades,” Collins explained on F1 TV’s Tech Talk.

“Well, Aston Martin has been a little bit cheeky, perhaps, because they listed the upgrades and they sort of said: ‘We’ve got a new engine cover’, but didn’t go into great detail, talking about how much of the sidepod shape has really changed on this car because I think it goes a lot further than the engine cover itself.

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“What I really want to draw your attention to actually is the shape on the base of the sidepod – that’s something that’s really dramatically different,” he elaborated.

“Aston Martin has done a huge amount of work here. They’ve introduced a completely new floor as well but, as we saw in Monaco, really exciting bits of the floor you can’t see with the car on the ground.

“A driver has to induce a crane intervention to let us see what’s going on underneath it, and I don’t think either driver wants to do that!”

When discussing the intricacies of the sidepod changes, Collins drew immediate comparisons between Aston Martin and Ferrari and what the Scuderia introduced last time out in Barcelona.

Interestingly, this approach differentiates from the class-leading Red Bull concept on that area of the car, and he explained that this could be a sign of how the teams are finding different ways forward.

“You can see that deep scalloping, that very distinctive shape,” Collins explained when drawing comparisons between the Aston Martin and Ferrari.

“Well, I’m looking at this, the upgraded Ferrari that we saw in the Spanish Grand Prix. And there it is, again, that deep scalloping, that raised centre section of the bodywork, that very distinct section, and then that ramp down.

“Now, some people ridiculously called this a Red Bull copy – it has nothing to do with Red Bull inspiration. This is Ferrari’s own work.

“Well, Aston Martin has taken almost the same route with this and I think that’s really fascinating because there’s clearly something to this design concept and it’s very different to what Red Bull are doing.

“So it’s going to two very different diverging concepts here, so I think that’s lovely to see in Formula 1. It’s one of the joys of Formula 1 as well, the different engineering concepts you’re going to see.”