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Aston Martin have had a great start to the 2023 season, but will the team be able to cement themselves as championship contenders in Formula One?
It has been clear since pre-season testing that Aston Martin have a strong challenger for 2023. Many speculated coming into the new campaign about how they would fair against the rest of the competition including the top teams in the sport. So far, they haven’t disappointed as the Silverstone based team are off to a flying start.
As we head into the third race weekend of the season, Aston Martin currently sit in second place in the Constructors Championship. Two time world champion Fernando Alonso is in the form of his life with his new team. The Spaniard claimed his 100th podium in F1 over a week ago at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Lance Stroll has also impressed this season. There was concern that the Canadian driver wouldn’t be ready in time for the new campaign. Stroll broke both of his wrists and his toe in a cycling accident. Despite requiring surgery, he made it back in time for the Bahrain Grand Prix and was able to finish in sixth place.
Aston Martin have claimed back-to-back podiums so far this season and a total of 38 points after just two races. So, how exactly have the British outfit been able to go from the back of the midfield right to the front of the grid in such a short space of time?
F1 is constantly evolving and improving. At the beginning of 2022, the new wave of regulations entered into the sport. These changes were put in place to make the racing more competitive and closer together. This would allow for more overtaking and a chance for the midfield and backmarker teams to compete with the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
However, this is a process that doesn’t happen overnight and can take many years to work in full affect. Even though there was more competition towards the bottom half of the standings last season, Red Bull dominated from the front winning 17 of the 22 races.
It is likely that Red Bull will dominate once again in 2023 after winning the opening two races of the campaign. However, Aston Martin have become the first team in the new era of regulations to properly challenge the top three teams in F1.
Aston Martin finished in seventh place last season in the Constructor standings. Compared to the teams around them, they have been able to find the right balance of great pace and reliability. This has propelled them right up towards the front of the grid.
The Cost Cap & Wind Tunnel time
The Cost Cap has played a huge part in this. This was introduced back in 2021 to set a limit on how much teams could spend within a season. This has stopped the bigger teams in the sport spending an unlimited amount of money to allow for more competition. However, there are certain teams that are still looking for changes to the Cost Cap. This is to make the sport even more competitive between the bigger and smaller teams.
Aston Martin have benefited not only from this but also additional Wind Tunnel time. Where the team’s place in the standings determines how much time they get to develop their car across the season. The team’s that finish at the bottom get more time and those who finish at the top get less time.
This has contributed in Aston Martin developing a great car this season. They have benefited with more Wind Tunnel time in 2023 compared to the other teams around them currently.
Can Aston Martin stay at the top?
Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll believes that his team can be challenging for world titles in the next couple of years. Despite the teams great start to 2023, Aston Martin will be hoping that they can build off of this and remain at the front of the grid for years to come.
With the Silverstone based team being the first in the new era of regulations to challenge at the top, they have an advantage over the competition, who will want to be where they are in the near future. The question is can they cement themselves at the top in F1? It may be to early to say now but only time will tell.
We head to Albert Park this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix. Last season, Alonso was very close to putting his car on pole but crashed out on the final few corners. With a more competitive car this season, could we potentially see Aston Martin on the front row once again? Or could they even go one better and get ahead of the Red Bull’s for pole position?
Feature Image Credit: (Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)