F1i Team Report Card for 2022: Aston Martin

Aston Martin finished seventh in F1's Constructors' standings, but beyond its position in the pecking order lets have a look at how Team Silverstone fared in 2022, and a glance at the performance of drivers Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and substitute Nico Hulkenberg.

A slow start followed by steady progress


The team picture

  • Constructors standing: P7, 55 points

While other teams have risen and fallen around them, Aston Martin has remained rooted in seventh place in the constructors standings in 2021 and 2022. They actually tied on points for sixth with Alfa Romeo, but frustratingly lost out on count-back despite picking up five points in the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi while Alfa finished pointless.

The team inevitably lost some early momentum with the abrupt departure of team principal Otmar Szafnauer at the start of the year. Capable as Mike Krack undoubtably is, it was always going to take some time for him to get to grips with the team set-up and start to make it his own.

Krack did get one over his predecessor when he poached Fernando Alonso away from Alpine within days of Sebastian Vettel opening up a vacancy by announcing his retirement from F1. In many ways, the story of Vettel's forthcoming departure from the sport he dominated between 2010 and 2013 rather eclipsed the team's own fortunes as the second half of the season wore on.

The driver line-up

  • Sebastian Vettel: P12, 37 points
  • Lance Stroll: P15, 18 points
  • Nico Hülkenberg: P22, 0 points

So that's a wrap for Sebastian Vettel, who leaves the sport after competing in 299 Grand prix races since his debut in the 2007 US Grand Prix with BMW Sauber subbing for Robert Kubica, who's still putting in FP1 appearances for Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately Vettel's success came early, and nothing he did after his tenure at Red Bull came close to matching it. Certainly not his two years at Aston Martin.

While Vettel showed glimpses of his old racing spirit towards the end of the season, and picked up twice as many points as Lance Stroll, overall he's been fairly well matched by his team mate. Vettel was on top in 13 qualifying sessions to Stroll's seven but he beat the Canadian in only ten races compared to nine for Stroll. However ten of those saw him finish in the top ten, compared to eight for the younger driver. They both picked up a season-best sixth place (Baku and Japan for Vettel, Singapore for Stroll) and both had three DNFs apiece.

And of course, Vettel did this despite having two races fewer than Stroll, as he was sidelined with COVID for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Nick Hulkenberg sat in for him at short notice, and while he beat Stroll in Jeddah he didn't manage to score any points in either outing. Nonetheless, it undoubtedly contributed to securing his 2023 return with Haas F1.

How 2023 is looking for Aston Martin

Next season will give Mike Krack the opportunity to show what he can do with the team that was so heavily influenced by Otmar Szafnauer during its former incarnations as Force India and Racing Point. The squad has been investing heavily in resources at its revamped Silverstone headquarters, and hopefully 2023 will see some return on all that spending.

While it's a shame to see Vettel depart from the F1 grid, it will be exciting to see what Fernando Alonso can do with the AMR23 that will be unveiled at the start of February. If it all comes together then it could be the breakthrough the team has been looking for - but that's a big if, and there's scant actual evidence to support it at this stage.

The big problem remains the question mark over Lance Stroll. Does he deserve the race seat on merit, or will his presence always be the team's Achilles heel? Although still just 24, he's been in F1 for six seasons now and made 122 starts so he is no beginner. Given that Vettel is a four-time world champion, Stroll compared reasonably well with his team mate this year; but Alonso can be notoriously brutal as a colleague, meaning that next year could potentially make or break the Canadian.

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