Aston Martin explain Stroll second consecutive pit lane start
By Ian Parkes
Monday 30th October, 2023 - 4:38am
Aston Martin has taken the decision that Lance Stroll will start from the pit lane for the second consecutive grand prix.
Following a torrid recent United States GP weekend, Aston Martin opted to start both Stroll and Fernando Alonso from the pit lane to evaluate a raft of new upgrades introduced in Austin on one car, and its previous iteration from Qatar.
In contrast to only having one practice session at the Circuit of The Americas to understand the new updates, Aston Martin has had three hour-long outings ahead of the Mexico City GP to further scrutinise the package, but has struggled.
It means Stroll, who qualified 17th, will revert to the pit lane following changes made to the AMR23 that include floor assembly, sidepod bodywork panels, rear beam wing, rear anti-roll bar, and front-brake friction material. Alonso will start on the grid from 13th as planned.
Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough said: “Obviously, nobody wants to start from the pit lane.
“We did that with the two cars last weekend, splitting old package versus new package. We got the comparison of the data, and at that track, we were pretty happy with the data we got.
“This weekend, we’ve had the new package from the start but have really struggled at what is a very different track.
“From the learning side of things, and looking at Brazil where it looks like it’s going to be wet, it’s a sprint event, and a lot of what we’re doing at the moment is really (about) next year’s, next year’s learning.
“We’ve also very different tracks – from Austin to here – with big bias here on the low-speed performance.
“So for us, we never like to start from the pit lane, but we’ve decided the best learning for us going forward is to get that data.
“When you change the floor, and there are other parts that go with that, you have to rebalance the car, the beam wing has to be prepared as well, and is very much a part that links to the floor and rear wing, so you have to make changes, as we did in Austin.”
Asked by Speedcafe whether consideration had been taken to start both cars from the pit lane again, but running with different setups to provide additional data, and with Alonso only 13th on the grid, McCullough explained why that would not be the case.
Despite describing the car as “very challenging to drive” at this circuit, underlined by Alonso spinning on three occasions, McCullough said: “Obviously will be starting Lance from the pit lane, and trying to get free air will be the aim.
“With such relatively low degradation, let’s see how it rattles out. Compared to previous years it looks to be a bit higher thus far, and the track temps are high. But it will probably still be a one-stop race for most. Let’s see.
“Fernando is in a position that with a strong first lap, then we’re aiming to get into the points. Obviously, that depends on how the first lap goes and everything else.”