New F1 season offers ‘true test’ for Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll at the launch of the Aston Martin AMR22 F1 car

The 2022 Formula 1 season will offer Aston Martin a “true test” according to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

As a team, Aston Martin has undergone significant change in recent seasons with new owners, fresh investment, and a management shake-up over the off-season.

That’s seen Mike Krack replace Otmar Szafnauer as team principal, one of a number of changes for the operation that started out life as the Jordan Formula 1 team in 1991.

“The truth is the team is growing,” said Vettel.

“Obviously having a shuffle in management is always a bit of a hiccup or shake-up, and it will take time to overcome, but hopefully we manage to pull together.”

Aston Martin has been on something of a recruitment drive in recent months, bolstering its staff with hundreds of new hires.

That includes senior staff from leading operations such as Red Bull; Andrew Alessi heads technical operations while Dan Fallows will join as technical director shortly after the season begins.

Add into the mix a new factory that is currently under construction and is set for completion in time for the 2023 season.

At its core though Aston Martin remains what was formerly known as Racing Point, and Force India before that, a squad that gained a reputation for being able to deliver above the odds on a comparatively small budget.

That appeared to falter last year as the team slipped from fourth in 2020, and battling for third in the constructors’ title fight, to seventh last season.

“Despite growing in size, becoming leaner, or more efficient in our processes, I think this year will be a true test for us,” Vettel reasoned.

“We will see how good we are because last year we didn’t show anything because we couldn’t.

“We didn’t focus on bringing any updates whereas this year it’s all about this set of regulations, this year’s cars or this generation of cars, and we will be able to show what we can produce and we should be measured based on that.”

The complication is with such a big regulation shift it’s difficult to know where the teams stack up before cars get on track.

Aston Martin unveiled its AMR22 on Wednesday (local time), becoming the first team to give a true representation of a 2022 F1 car.

“At this stage everybody’s hoping to be at the top,” Vettel said.

“If you look at the podium, it will still look the same this year, so it’s only space for one.

“But we hope we are in a much better shape than last year.

“We have the ability this year to develop the car,” he added.

“We didn’t do that last year for probably more than three quarters of the season.

“So it will be very different, obviously. Last year we knew from the start that it’s going to be a long and difficult season, so we hope for a better one.”

The AMR22 will hit the track for the first time on Friday for a ‘filming day’ ahead of pre-season testing getting underway in Spain on February 23.

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