The 2020 world championship saw Racing Point as one of the most brilliant teams in the entire world; nicknamed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ due to the color of the livery and, above all, to the technical characteristics very similar to those adopted by the Brackley team, the team in fact came in third place in the constructors’ standings, behind only the champion Mercedes and Red Bull. A result that, together with the change of name to Aston Martin for 2021 and the arrival of a multiple world champion like Sebastian Vettel, it seemed to be the basis for a turning point in view of the next world championship.
Instead, against all odds, the British team was one of the worst flops of the season just ended. Despite the 2nd place obtained by the German in Baku – and another podium conquered in Hungary, then canceled due to the disqualification started due to a too low fuel quantity – Aston Martin closed the world championship only at 7th place in the standings, often recording lap times half a second slower than direct rivals such as Ferrari, McLaren and AlphaTauri.
The main cause of these difficulties, as pointed out by the Technical Director of the team Andy Green, is to be linked to the modification of the technical regulation for 2021, in particular as regards the shortening of the bottom of the car in the area around the rear tires. The philosophy ‘low-rake’, which had guaranteed Mercedes to generate greater rear downforce until 2020, was in fact supplanted by the new regulations, which had negative effects especially on Aston Martin. The latter, despite the use of the swept-back suspension used by Mercedes in 2020, still failed to establish itself as one of the best performing companies, thanks to a loss of performance found above all on circuits that featured high-speed curves: “We lost between 1.5 and 2 seconds – Green explained – and we only recovered half of it. We had a rear that it was blocked by the new regulations. All of our simulations said we simply had to raise the car again, but we were stuck at the rear composition we had homologated because we were forced to move early towards 2022. If we had another season with these regulations, they are more than sure that we would have developed our way out of this unhappy situation by achieving better performance “. Speaking of next season, there was no shortage of comments from Sebastian Vettel, eager to redeem himself from one of the worst leagues of his career along with the rest of his new team: “This world championship has really opened our eyes – he has declared – despite having adopted a great way to work. This has brought a tremendous amount of experience to the team for professionalism in the way we operate, not only on the track, but in the factory as well. He showed us the way to operate and how to do everything right. The level of detail you need to achieve in each area to be able to win races and championships is incredible, and it shows with the amount of work it takes to tick each box. To get everything right, you must first analyze all the ‘what if’ scenarios (ie what would have happened if…), and make sure all these areas are checked. So it’s not just the absolute current attention, but everything around it: the strategy and tire scenarios, which, once they offer guarantees, can make us develop the race plan. We are definitely taking the opportunity to learn and make ourselves a better team – he concluded – so, when we emerge from this situation and we are competitive again, I really believe that we will come out with many improvements ”.
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