Aston Martin says that in hindsight it sacrificed too many of its recent sessions on race weekends to research and development work geared towards 2024. It will now prioritize its quest for points in the final two races of 2023.
Aston hit the ground running in Bahrain at the start of its 2023 campaign and upheld its momentum until the early summer, with Fernando Alonso scoring 6 podiums in eight races.
However, when the Silverstone-based outfit kicked off in earnest its development programme, its performance inexplicably began to fade, although Alonso scored another podium at the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of August.
But thereafter followed a significant slump that saw the team slip from third in F1’s Constructors’ standings down to fifth.
In Austin, Team Silverstone introduced a modified floor and diffuser on its AMR23.
But limited mileage due to the sprint weekend’s compressed schedule and parc fermé rules coupled with a brake issue that emerged in Friday’s single practice left the team with insufficient data to properly gauge the efficiency of its changes.
A week after the US Grand Prix, there was no uptick in performance in Mexico City while race day delivered a double DNF to the team.
There was however a significant lift for team green in Brazil last time out, where Aston implemented an aero package comprised of elements trialed in previous races as part of a full-scale R&D programme.
Looking back, Aston performance director Tom McCullough admitted that the extent of the R&D and experimenting conducted by the team, mostly in Austin and in Mexico, was “a bit too much”.
"We're really just focusing, these next few races, on trying to get as many points as we can do, rather than doing too many R&D projects in front of you all at the track,” McCullough explained, quoted by Motorsport.com.
"We really got into trying to do some big testing and understanding for next year, which we've done and got all that data in the bank.
"It is tough doing all the R&D, especially during a sprint event, we don't want to be starting from the pitlane [to change a car’s specification].
"We've introduced some parts, we've done some testing. We did a bit too much R&D work in front of you all, and over two race weekends, which maybe in hindsight wasn't the right thing to do.
"But we're pretty happy that we've got a good understanding of the way to develop the car, which is key for next year."
Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack acknowledged that his team had steered its development programme towards next season, rather than cater its efforts towards the present, with points as a priority.
"This is not about the outside world, this is about ourselves,” he said. “We wanted to learn as much as possible for next year. But obviously, then you sacrifice a bit the results…
"You have a range of parts that you combine them. The cars are very complicated and you need to really understand the different areas, how they interact with each other."