Following a torrid time of porpoising at the beginning of the 2022 FIA Formula 1 season, much-needed car upgrades for the Aston Martin Cognizant F1 team came at the Spanish Grand Prix, in the form of a new sidepod. It enhanced the car’s performance on the lower speed circuits, but the car has struggled on the high speed tracks that have an aerodynamic dependancy.
“The upgrades have worked, have brought us a step forward. The basic problems that the car is having have not been solved,” Krack stated.
With four-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel, and Canadian, Lance Stroll by his side, the dynamic duo had high expectations on their shoulders when Vettel signed to the Silverstone based outfit. The team changed its name and image in 2021, and the cars new livery is nothing but spectacular. However, two seasons in and there are significant missing pieces from the jigsaw; performance and results.
“The drivers are mainly always complaining about grip and balance,” said Krack.
“When you push it really hard, which I always think when you have a car that is not quick enough, you over push or you try to over push, so you have balance problems.”
Other teams around them have struggled this season with their own similar issues. AlphaTauri aren’t performing as well as previous years and McLaren are struggling to maximise their package. On the other hand, Williams, Haas and the Alpines are all showing improvement.
Aston Martin have struggled to get out of Q1 at a variety of circuits, and from way down in the pack they haven’t been able to progress through the field because of aerodynamic problems. While the new side-pod has helped with the bouncing, it hasn’t benefitted them on the faster circuits.
“Also we have had now sessions where to go faster, you need more grip. We struggled in all high-speed areas.
“In Canada, there was less of them, in Baku, there was less of them. The car is quite OK in the low-speed. And [in Baku] it’s mainly low-speed corners. But as soon as it goes high-speed, we are lacking.”
Vettel, who has named every car he’s driven since 2008, hasn’t christened this year’s Aston Martin. This season has seen him finish in the points just four times, though the German driver didn’t participate in the first two races due to testing positive for Covid-19. He currently sits in 14th place with 15 points.
His teammate, Lance Stroll, sits in 19th place in the Drivers’ Championship with three points, after just three top ten finishes, at Imola, Miami and Canada.
Perhaps the upcoming Pirelli tyre test, following the Hungarian Grand Prix, could provide some valuable data for the team. Though it’s unclear at the moment what the requirements set out by Pirelli will be regarding fuel loads and run types.
Accumiliating just 18 points in the Constructors’ Championship, and with the summer break fast approaching, the team are stuck between a rock and a hard place regarding putting everything they have into the second half of the season, and shifting focus to 2023.
Is it better to consider writing off this year and let it play out? If so, the timing will be critical to get right, to maximise all they can from this season without jeopardising their 2023 campaign.
“It’s a very tough call,” said Krack. “Obviously, you do not want to finish the year in the situation where we are now. But you also do not want to compromise next year.
“So, we have to really carefully evaluate what can we do at this point to move a little bit out of the situation, without compromising next year’s car.
“There’s a lot of discussions going on there with our technical people and we need to really find the correct balance.”