Adamant they now have a good understanding of how to get the most out of the AMR23, Aston Martin have turned their focus from on-track “R&D projects” to scoring points.
And it looks to have paid off with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso third and fourth in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Having conceded they’d gone “wrong” with their early-season upgrades, led astray by their aerodynamic simulation tools, Aston Martin brought a new aero package to the United States Grand Prix in the hope that it would turn their spiralling fortunes around.
Aston Martin swap data gathering for points scoring
But with it being a Sprint weekend, the team struggled with the set-up of the car and decided to break parc fermé conditions to pull both cars off the grid for set-up changes. Stroll raced his way from the pit lane to seventh place.
That was followed by a step back in Mexico with neither driver finishing the Grand Prix, opening the door for McLaren to take a 20-point lead in the race for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
But confident they now have a better understanding of the AMR23, performance director Tom McCullough says Aston Martin will no longer be gathering data, they want to gather points.
“We have been quite aggressive with some developments, a few races ago, introducing them at the Sprint, really research and development for next year’s car in some ideas,” McCullough said.
“That means it’s quite hard to optimise the car at a race weekend, especially in a Sprint format.
“We’re definitely learning. We’ve put a lot of good data in the bank for next year.
“This weekend, we’ve just got our focus on operationally executing a strong weekend in the now, rather than gathering data for the future.
“We’ve got a good understanding of how to get the most out of our current car.
“We’re really just focusing, these next few races, on trying to get as many points as we can, rather than doing too many R&D projects in front of you all at the track.”
McCullough’s comments echo was Alonso said in the build-up to the Grand Prix when he revealed the team had been “experimenting” but now have a “clear idea” of what needs to be done.
“We have a lot of data obviously from the last two events, and we’ve been experimenting a little bit with the car and the set-up and the packages,” he said at Interlagos.
“I think we have some clear idea now, some better conclusions after the two events, which of the package and which parts of the package are working better in certain circuits in certain corners.
“For here, because it’s a Sprint, we will try to commit to something from FP1 and stay with that, and that will be the best package for this circuit.”