Aston Martin ‘seek Mercedes help’ in rule change fight

Date published: May 5 2021

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Aston Martin are reportedly still considering legal action over this year’s rule changes – but firstly want Mercedes to help fight their corner.

Tweaks to the regulations for 2021 have hindered Aston Martin considerably, for they have slid backwards performance-wise with only five points collected from the first three races.

The problem has been having to cut away a small piece of the floor of their cars in order to reduce downforce, which has affected those with low-rake such as the Aston Martin and Mercedes more than the rest.

Aston Martin’s gripe relates to the procedure in which the rule changes were brought in because, according to Auto Motor und Sport, three teams – themselves, Mercedes and McLaren – voted against, which would have been enough to scupper the proposal.

However, the FIA could still push through the amendments on the grounds of safety.

The report from Auto Motor und Sport, referencing the word in the paddock at the Portuguese Grand Prix, suggests that rather than backing away from the threat of legal action against the FIA, as Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer did recently, that prospect remains alive.

But also that team owner Lawrence Stroll would only go down that route if he could not find a satisfactory resolution via mediation – and “is said to have asked his business friend Toto Wolff for administrative assistance”.

Toto Wolff Lawrence Stroll

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The report adds: “He will try to use the power of Mercedes to persuade the world association to withdraw the rule changes.”

The problem for Aston Martin, however, is that it will be difficult to prove the issue is not specific just to them.

Mercedes, their engine supplier and technical partner, have recovered well from a difficult weekend of pre-season testing to win two of the first three races through Sir Lewis Hamilton and appear to now be on top of the problems they encountered in Bahrain in mid-March.

Also, there is unlikely to be any appetite among the other teams, including McLaren and Williams who also receive engines from Mercedes, to try and overturn the regulation changes.

Therefore, if Stroll cannot get the matter resolved to his satisfaction, even with help from Wolff, he “should continue to consider a lawsuit”, say Auto Motor und Sport.

They conclude by saying investors in Aston Martin’s much-heralded return to Formula 1 “must fear the plan will not work” after a disappointing start to the campaign – and that a zero points haul in Portugal has done nothing to ease the situation.

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