Ralf Schumacher thinks Aston Martin are “embarrassing” themselves with their current performance – and unlikely to improve much this season.
Aston Martin, by their own admission, were badly affected by the tweaks to the aerodynamic regulations for this year which impacted on they and Mercedes the most.
As a result, they are isolated in seventh in the Constructors’ standings, although they would be much closer to sixth-placed AlphaTauri had Sebastian Vettel not been disqualified from the Hungarian Grand Prix due to a fuel sample issue.
There was another tricky moment for Vettel during the Turkish Grand Prix last time out when his experiment to try slick tyres failed completely, costing the four-time former World Champion any chance of scoring points along with his ninth-placed team-mate, Lance Stroll.
Despite finishing second in Azerbaijan, it has not been the season Vettel was hoping for – but his compatriot, ex-F1 racer Schumacher, places the blame well and truly at Aston Martin’s door.
“’I refuse to believe Sebastian has embarrassed himself. It’s more the team that is embarrassing itself at the moment,” the former Williams, Jordan and Toyota driver told Sky Germany.
“’The package is just not going in the right direction and doesn’t seem to be able to develop, although they have a very close co-operation with Mercedes. Of course, the fact they have taken on a lot of new staff could stand in the way.”
Six races remain in the 2021 campaign and while Vettel and Stroll will stay as Aston Martin’s driver line-up for the start of the new era next year, Schumacher does not expect many highlights for them over the rest of this season.
“’I don’t think we will see Sebastian in the top 10 very often, unless accidents at the start happen like in Budapest,” added the 46-year-old.
“They are definitely behind McLaren and Ferrari and even Alpha Tauri are in front, so it will be a tough end of the year for Vettel.”
Schumacher also added his take on the title battle between Mercedes and Red Bull which, even though Max Verstappen holds a six-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ standings, has tilted towards the reigning champions with their car producing the greater pace of late.
“It could possibly be a tough end to the year for Red Bull too, unless they can close the small gap to Mercedes in terms of engine performance,” said Schumacher.
“’Now it’s important that Red Bull make a step because Mercedes are a bit faster at the moment in terms of the car and the package.
“In the last two races Mercedes have become very strong. At the moment, everything speaks for Lewis but Red Bull have certainly not given up.”