Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Imola, 2021

Aston Martin “satisfied correct steps were followed” with 2021 rules after FIA meeting

2021 F1 season

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Aston Martin CEO Otmar Szafnauer has softened his stance over technical changes introduced for the 2021 F1 season.

Last Friday Szafnauer called on the FIA to revise the aerodynamic regulations which came into force this year to reduce the disadvantage he feels Aston Martin has suffered.

However following “a couple of meetings with the FIA”, Szafnauer indicated the team’s concerns have been at least partly addressed.

“I think we’re, at this point, pretty satisfied that all the correct steps were followed,” said Szafnauer. “We’re still in discussion, we’re just trying to discover what all the steps were to make sure that it was done properly and equitably, so that’s the reason for the discussion.”

Szafnauer added the team was seeking “just have to have a good understanding of the entire process and be happy that the process is equitable, really.”

During the race weekend Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff suggested the aerodynamic changes to the rear of the cars had been intended to reduce the world champions’ advantage. He said Aston Martin, whose car is of a similar ‘low-rake’ design, had been “collateral damage”.

At the first race of the season the whole field on average was 1.6 seconds slower than the previous year. But Aston Martin performed worse, losing 2.2 seconds year-on-year. At Imola they performed better than average: While the field was 0.23s slower, Aston Martin were down by just 0.07s.

Aston Martin added to its points haul at Imola, Lance Stroll finishing eighth, though Sebastian Vettel had to drop out of the race shortly before the end. Szafnauer said the team is “still working hard” at reducing its performance deficit.

“It seems like we’ve got to look really hard at one-lap pace,” he explained. “It looks like the race pace is a little bit better.

“We had dry conditions here, wet conditions, people on different tyres, so it’s hard to know. But I think Lance did a brilliant job to come home seventh from where he started, a tough race. Unfortunately Seb had the gearbox issue and also the penalty so that didn’t really help. But we’ll look through all the data and we’ll work hard to try to pull it back.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 25 comments on “Aston Martin “satisfied correct steps were followed” with 2021 rules after FIA meeting”

    1. I don’t know what possessed Otmar and Stroll to even suggest and go down this route in the first place. It really made the team look bad, which after last year’s illegal car absolutely tanked any remaining goodwill the team has spent decades building up for me.

      1. @aiii I think what possessed them was LH and TW taking the lead, in to me a bitter and petty way, suggesting conspiracy after qualifying in Bahrain, which for me personally was the first time I’d heard since last year’s announcement of the floor change that it was anything other than an agreed upon method to not over stress the tires this year.

        1. Bitter and petty? LOL.

      2. Haha, the panic at AM and Mercedes. It just concerns the one lap pace in quali. No reason to get so upset. Not very professional from either team. As for AM they have bigger problems, like their driver line-up. I would focus on that first before blaming everything around you

      3. @aiii Well they apparently warned the FIA upfront that the changes would hurt low rake cars a lot more than others. So if the changes are then pushed through regardless it makes sense they feel wronged. Of course there is little point in arguing now, but still.

    2. (they were told to stop whining and get on with it)

    3. I wanted to like Aston Martin but they make it really hard to do so. This constant complaining about being hobbled by the regulations while having won with an illegal copy last year is really souring. Obviously they don’t have the money of Mercedes but that team’s managed to win a race with their low rake car so there’s clearly a solution to the problem… that AM would know if they designed it. It just strikes me a sour grapes that their copied homework isn’t giving them instant success anymore.

      Still not sure what the point of the team is other than bought prestige and an ego trip for Stroll. I get the feeling Red Bull would be happier to see AlphaTauri win a race than Mercedes would be if Aston Martin did.

      1. It’s quite a challenge to like Szafnauer; more so since Abiteboul is no longer around.

      2. @rocketpanda Oh knock it off with the illegal car nonsense. They were caught out by a technicality that they had the rights to use a part, but since they didn’t used it for that first year then that suddenly meant they lost these rights for the next.

        1. Tell the FIA to knock it off, they deemed it illegal and punished them so I think we can call it illegal. They aimed for a loophole they must have known was closing and figured they’d get a slap on the wrists and got a little bit more. Whether you agree or not the discussions on how ‘F1’ wholesale copy of a competitor’s car by reverse engineering photographs is went on for quite a while and honestly its still quite souring.

    4. Honestly Mercedes and Aston Martin’s complaints about being targeted with these regulations always sounded like sour grapes to me so I’m surprised they even went down this route publicly. I didn’t hear any complaints about the downforce reducing measures when they were announced last year and it was only after testing that this theory about low-rake cars suffering more seemed to come up. If they had really thought at the time the regulation changes were announced that they were specifically targeted at low-rake cars then they should have issued their protests back then and come up with some alternative, more equitable means by which to reduce the load on the tyres.

      Given that they didn’t do that, I think it’s more likely that no one knew for sure what the impact would be until the new cars hit the track. So I hope that they can now get on with it and we won’t have to hear more petty comments about how unfairly penalised they have been.

    5. Good, now focus on more important matters. Like painting your car a few shades lighter green. Looks too much like the car they pretend to be on tv.

      1. and maybe fix the poorest line-up of the whole field. That won’t help either

    6. The FIA shouldn’t have to explain themselves to Lance Stroll. Ridiculous situation.

      1. @john-h Where have you gotten that they ‘have to explain themselves to Lance Stroll?’

      2. Oh, the driver that Lando insulted? Interesting…

      3. @robbie Lawrence! Where’s that edit button gone ;)

        1. @john-h Lol, I probably should have guessed that’s what happened. Lol funny when you think of them having to answer to Lance. I mean, I know he’ll be the heir apparent but sheesh Lawrence looks to have a lot of life in him yet. But yeah I agree they shouldn’t have to explain themselves to him, but I guess if they come to them with questions they have to explain what we all knew anyway, and send them on their way…they being OS and LSsr.

    7. It seems like asking about the steps that were taken to come up with this regulation change should have been asked last year before all the teams voted unanimously (including Merc and AM) to approve the change. Complaining loudly after you voted for the changes that you have been targeted and unfairly impeded when it is clear you hadn’t done your homework (a recurring pattern with AM) is a really bad look for a team that is becoming masters of the bad look.

      1. @g-funk So the point is that they did complain before that low rake cars would be hurt more, but nothing was done about it.

        1. @f1osaurus The point is the complaints happened after they themselves voted to approve the rules that they are now claiming unfairly hurt them. Don’t vote for something that you haven’t done your homework on and then complain after the fact that you are being targeted by the rule change.

          1. @g-funk Well they complained before about the changes hurting them specifically. So it’s not like they didnt do their homework. They knew and alerted the FIA.

            That they got pressured into signing for this rule change doesn’t change anything.

    8. More like the blowback / PR damage convinced them to be “satisfied.” They already knew how these rules were developed.

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