Aston Martin are reported to be spending their development tokens this year on a modified survival cell.
With a driver line-up of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin are, of course, the rebranded Racing Point team as the famous British manufacturer become a Formula 1 constructor again for the first time since 1960.
They are doing so in a year when the F1 regulations have been kept relatively static, with the sweeping changes originally planned for 2021 now being brought in next year instead due to the impact of the global health pandemic.
It means that while aerodynamic development remains free, changes to parts are limited to two by way of a ‘token’ system.
The Race report that both of Aston Martin’s tokens are going towards the survival cell, which is actually divided into two parts within the technical regulations.
While the philosophy of the car remains the same as last year, it is nevertheless still largely a new machine.
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) February 4, 2021
“We didn’t have the normal latitude of development we usually do, so from a philosophy standpoint, running a low-rake car, that stayed the same,” Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1, as quoted by The Race.
“However, having said that, even though we didn’t have a latitude for development, the FIA did make aerodynamic changes and significant changes to take downforce away and slow us down. And because of that we had to redevelop the whole thing.
“This is the first time a carry-over car has had many of its parts new, so although the philosophy is carry-over we will still have a lot of new parts on the car, a lot of new aerodynamic development, even a new chassis for us as well.
“Although the car will be similar to last year, it’s predominantly new.”
Aston Martin also have the benefit of being able to upgrade any 2019 non-listed parts from Mercedes which they used last year as Racing Point to 2020 spec without spending tokens.
This is permitted in the regulations and also benefits AlphaTauri with their Red Bull association, although Haas cannot do so because they already used 2020 Ferrari components last year.
It means Aston Martin can upgrade to the 2020 Mercedes rear suspension, which was swept back and reconfigured as part of a major redesign that improved the airflow – and therefore potential for downforce generation – to the rear of the car.