Ralf Schumacher puts forward ‘Red Bull know-how’ theory for Aston Martin’s stagnation

Michelle Foster
Aston Martin's Lance Stroll exits the pits during the Qatar Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Lance Stroll exits the pits during the Qatar Grand Prix.

Ralf Schumacher has questioned whether Aston Martin’s troubles are because former Red Bull employee Dan Fallows’ knowledge of Red Bull’s design has reached its end.

Fallows joined Aston Martin as their technical director in April last year with his arrival having a major impact on this year’s AMR23.

And with him went whatever knowledge he had of Red Bull’s very first ground-effect aerodynamic car.

Ralf Schumacher ponders what’s behind Aston Martin’s struggles

It had Helmut Marko speaking about “three Red Bulls on the podium” when Fernando Alonso finished third behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

“If you compare the cars, the Aston Martin is most similar to our Red Bull,” he told Sky Deutschland. “There’s a reason for that.

“Not only did Fallows change, but also some other employees and they obviously have a good memory.”

But while Alonso was Red Bull’s nearest challenger in the first part of the season as he claimed six podiums in eight races, he only has one top-three result in the last 10.

Although Aston Martin have been bringing updates for the AMR23 they have not helped the team regain their early season form with Lando Norris saying they seem to get “slower and slower” with each upgrade.

It has Schumacher questioning whether Fallows’ “Red Bull know-how” has reached its limit.

“I hope they find their form again. After Mexico we certainly know more,” the six-time Grand Prix winner told F1-Insider.com.

“But what if the former Red Bull man Fallows was able to bring a lot of Red Bull’s know-how to the car this year and now his cornucopia is simply empty because he no longer knew of the further developments of his former team?

“In any case, that could also be a reason for the stagnation in performance.”

But with Fallows stating Aston Martin took a path that was “simply wrong” with their aerodynamic simulation tools, his former boss Marko has warned him and Aston Martin that it’s a long road back if you get it wrong.

“You have to know as early as possible in the season what direction you are going for next year,” said the Red Bull motorsport advisor.

“If you make a mistake, you could be in for a rude awakening at the start of the new season. Mercedes had this experience in 2023.”

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How much longer will Fernando Alonso stay quiet?

Aston Martin’s struggles have Schumacher asking how much longer will Fernando Alonso stay quiet on the matter.

Despite plummeting from second in the standings to fifth, the Spaniard has defended his team, insisting their progress “has been more consistent feeling than what maybe the results are showing.”

He added: “I know that we are more and more like football here and only the last result seems to count but we cannot forget where we come from and what the project is about so very proud of this season so far.”

Schumacher doesn’t believe those positive words will continue if Aston Martin don’t right their ship.

“How long Fernando Alonso will keep quiet?” he said. “He is known for his ambition, which can quickly escalate into a bad mood when things don’t go his way. Because everyone knows that it’s not his fault.”

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