Aston Martin believes Ferrari, Mercedes close on pace
By Mat Coch
Saturday 8th April, 2023 - 2:49pm
Aston Martin believes the AMR23 is close on pace with both Ferrari and Mercedes in this year’s F1 championship.
That assessment comes despite the Silverstone squad sitting second in the constructors’ championship behind Red Bull.
It is nine points clear of Mercedes and 39 ahead of Ferrari after three races.
Fernando Alonso is one of only two drivers to have stood on the podium in every race this season.
The other driver to have achieved that feat is world championship leader Max Verstappen.
Red Bull’s biggest rival
Aston Martin impressed during pre-season testing prompting many to predict it to be Red Bull’s nearest rival.
So it has proved to be thus far.
Speedcafe’s own analysis has suggested Aston Martin is only the fourth fastest car over a single lap.
The team’s performance director, Tom McCullough, agrees.
“We’ve always believed is a decent car,” he said.
“But the Red Bull’s a very strong car.
“Mercedes, the Ferrari and ourselves have been very close.
“Our analysis during testing, first race weekend, second race weekend, and again [in Australia], you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“There’s little bits here and there, low-, medium-, high-speed, efficiency, DRS which we’re looking at all those things.
“The cars are achieving lap time slightly differently but the difference in pure pace, I think best sectors, Carlos [Sainz] was third [in qualifying in Melbourne] but all of a sudden, the end result, it looks a little bit down the order.
“But the differences between the Ferrari and ourselves is small and will change slightly track to track and tyre to tyre but they’re small margins.”
Aston Martin’s party piece has been its ability to look after its tyres.
That paid dividends in Bahrain.
Alonso chased down Sainz for the final podium place before easing away from the Ferrari driver in the latter stages.
In Saudi Arabia, the Scuderia cited its inability to switch on the hard compound tyres as the reason for its relative struggles that weekend.
Underscoring the pace of Aston Martin is Lance Stroll, who put in a strong account for himself in Bahrain despite battling a recently-broken wrist.
The Canadian finished fourth in Australia to mark the race out as the team’s best result since the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix (when it was known as Racing Point) won by Sergio Perez with Stroll third.
Formula 1 moves next to the streets of Baku for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on April 28-30.
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