Aston Martin in ‘a big group with a lot of teams’

Jon Wilde
Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin during official pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin passes palm trees during official pre-season testing. Bahrain March 2022.

Sebastian Vettel says he hopes Aston Martin turn out to be at the front of a congested midfield pack when the 2022 season begins.

Although testing of the all-new cars inevitably could not provide a hard and fast guide to the initial pecking order, the general consensus appeared to be that Red Bull and Ferrari were leading the way.

Mercedes, of course, can never be ruled out of being front-runners even though they were playing down their prospects, but beyond that it could be anyone’s guess before qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix or, at the very least, free practice.

The midfield was tight last year, with positions five through to nine among the 10 teams often being difficult to predict from race to race.

Aston Martin were right in the thick of that battle and Vettel suspects it could be a similar story this time around as they aim to improve on a disappointing seventh-placed finish in the Constructors’ standings.

Sebastian Vettel at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022

“We have lots of stuff to go through, like a lot of people who are fighting the ‘porpoising’ down the straights, and there are lots of things we tried but we will see where we are next week,” Vettel told reporters during testing in Bahrain.

“I think reading into lap times is even more difficult this year but, behind the usual leading teams, it’s a tight pack, so I expect fierce competition.

“I just sense there seems like a big group with a lot of teams and we seem to be somewhere in there, hopefully at the front [of it] – that could make a big difference.”

It has been suggested that with only six days running of the brand new challengers so far, and reliability a big concern, the team that masters the ‘porpoising’ problem best could be in prime position for victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix even if they do not necessarily have the fastest car.

 

“I think everyone is in the same position,” added Vettel. “We are all at the limit with these cars with bits and pieces, and this week is the final week we have to prepare.

“It’s the first time we will run with two cars, which is different to running with one car.

“So a very busy week ahead of us, probably the busiest of those last busy weeks, but again, everyone is in the same boat.

“Nobody really knows where they stand yet, and this coming week will be important in making sure we hit the ground running in Bahrain.”

 

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Aston Martin part of a big midfield group

Sebastian Vettel hopes Aston Martin will be at the front of the midfield this season.