Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Lando Norris, McLaren, Losail International Circuit, 2023

Aston Martin believe ‘our destiny is in our hands’ in fight for fourth with McLaren

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Aston Martin are not resigned to finishing behind McLaren this year despite their rivals’ significant gains in the championship fight in recent races.

The gap between the two teams has shrunk by 91 points over the last three rounds, leaving Aston Martin just 11 points clear of their rivals in the fight for fourth place in the constructors championship.

Aston Martin have only out-scored McLaren once in the last eight rounds, but team principal Mike Krack doesn’t believe their fate is sealed. “No, I think you always have your destiny in your own hands,” he said after the Qatar Grand Prix.

“You have to try and improve the car, which we still try to do and then try to fight this as hard as we can.”

He admitted the team don’t have the pace to beat McLaren “at the moment” and “it will be tough” to change that. “But we need to try,” he added. McLaren brought a significant upgrade to their MCL60 at the Singapore Grand Prix last month and Aston Martin will have some new parts for their car this weekend.

Krack took some encouragement from their performance in the Qatar Grand Prix where Fernando Alonso finished sixth, two places lower than he started.

“We were a little bit better than we were recently, but not enough to jump a position,” Krack summarised. “We managed to keep the Ferrari behind but then when the Ferrari was in front, we were also not able to pass it.

“I think it was not really a surprise because we need to also not forget that in qualifying we had a good ranking, but we had also some deleted lap times [due to track limits infringements]. So you think you are high up on the grid, but it is not 100 percent reflecting your performance.”

Aston Martin is also working on improvements to the seat overheating problems Alonso and team mate Lance Stroll referred to in recent races.

“Fernando reported this already a couple of times,” said Krack. “It’s not that we have not done anything because we had also a step in Singapore which we thought was much, much better but then obviously we have another set of extreme conditions. So I think we’re not far from air conditioning if it continues like it.”

“You have hydraulic lines, you have ECUs around you, they are all heating up,” he added. “They try to isolate this heat from it but also you do not want to have any kind of active cooling because it’s just weight.”

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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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16 comments on “Aston Martin believe ‘our destiny is in our hands’ in fight for fourth with McLaren”

  1. More like, it’s in Alonso’s hands… Stroll jr just doesn’t cut it. Norris and Piastri are more than capable of scoring podiums. I wouldn’t put it beyond McLaren to duke it out with Mercedes and Ferrari for 2nd/3rd place until the final round.

    1. I agree.. Aston Martin only got their P4 in the WCC due to Alonso.. Stroll has been a gauranteed 0 points contribution man since the summer break, which looks likely to continue till the end of the year. With Alonso having a poor weekend in Singapore and not the greatest weekend in Qatar, Mclaren just took huge bites out of their lead. I just can’t see them matching Mclaren in terms of performance.. and I don’t see Alonso finishing ahead of both Mclaren drivers every race weekend. I reckon, they’ll lose P4 in the next round itself.

      If Stroll Jr. isn’t fired at the end of this season, it would be a real slap in the face of every employee of Aston Martin and every race fan around the world.

      1. Let’s be accurate in our wording. AM has had poor weekends as the car is clearly now rear midfield speed. It’s so disappointing that they haven’t shown a good development trend this season, especially since traditionally they’ve started out badly and developed well in-season.

    2. JOA20 Ferrari & especially Mercedes are a bit too far ahead in points for five races & two sprints (save for more extraordinary circumstances), not to mention, unlike AM, they’ve both drivers scoring points consistently like Mclaren, so they don’t have a driver advantage against those two.

      1. @jerejj I don’t think McLaren will finish the year higher than fourth, but they will definitely give Ferrari and Mercedes a scare. With 250 points still available, Mercedes and Ferrari respectively have 107 and 79 points over McLaren, considering the current trend I predict the papaya team will have at least a mathematical chance to finish higher than fourth by Abu Dhabi.

        1. You indicate 250 points still available but realistically that is more likely to be less than 200 given the likelihood that Max will win 3-5 races and take top points in sprints as well.

          So looking at the most optimum scenario that McLaren continue as they have done in last 2 races and score 5x 2nd/3rd in all races that gives them 5x 33 + 2x 13 = 191 points.
          Then assume Ferrari & Mercedes fight out 4th-7th given both 5x 18 + 2x 7 = 104 points.

          In this very optimum scenario they outscore Ferrari by just enough to take 3rd but both Japan and Qatar were tracks that favored McLaren – so very unlikely scenario.

          It will be Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, Williams followed by likely Alfa Romeo, Haas and certainly last Alpha Tauri.

    3. If Alonso had a teammate who was even with him on points, AM would be in a commanding 2nd place. That’s how big the performance gap is and how good Alonso’s been.

      Another startling fact: Alonso has more Q3 appearances than Checo and Stroll combined this season.

  2. Your destiny was in Junior’s hands. Now it’s too late, two Alonso’s couldn’t help you; not when Mclaren’s got much better car and more than decent driver pairing.
    Considering that Junior had signed himself for another year, you don’t even deserve any success. This level of nepotism belongs in Soviet Union or feudal monarchies.

  3. JOA20, I agree. Aston Martin are lucky to have Alonso and I really can’t see how they can continue with Stroll if they are serious about having ambitions about winning big chunks of championship points. I’m not knocking Stroll, but he isn’t delivering the results they need.

    Red Bull can get away with it because Max is scoring so many points, but Alonso can’t carry Aston Martin into 4th alone.

  4. Whatever upgrades they are bringing for this weekend will have to be a hell of a jump of performance for that to be true. They finished 6th in Qatar, with one Mercedes and one Ferrari out of the race by lap 1, and Perez having another howler. Realistically, they have been fighting for 2 points in every race recently, plus picking up the pieces that the faster teams drop, while McLaren are regular podium contenders. I just can’t see it. P4 is well and truly McLaren’s to lose now.

  5. Unfortunately it’s too late unless they dump Stroll immediately and put someone else in.

  6. Not when one of your drivers has wooden spoons as hands.

  7. Not really, with only a single driver scoring points against both scoring regularly for McLaren, so a position change is inevitable at this rate, perhaps even in the next race or Mexico City GP at the latest.

  8. No chance that Aston Martin keeps 4th – they will be 5th for sure.
    Piastri alone (rookie & last to get upgrades) outscored AM as a team over the last 9 races.

    McLaren since Austria had 15 points finishes scoring 202 points (=22.2 avg)
    * Norris: 9 weekends with points – total 124 points
    * Piastri: 7 weekends with points – total 78 points
    AM had only 11 points finishes scoring 76 points (=8.4 avg).
    * Alonso: 8 weekends with points – total 66 points
    * Stroll: 3 weekends with points – total 10 points

  9. If Stroll had a mere 50% of Alonso’s points tally the team would be 55 points ahead of McLaren at this stage. Instead he has only 21%. Abysmal performance in what was the second best car for a third of the season.

  10. I think Stroll Jr., is probably as well paid as Alonso at AM, and if they dropped him through team pressure then he’d either not get another seat, or have to pay out of his own (or Daddy’s) pocket for the seat at a low down team.
    Bearing in mind the lower teams actually have some pretty good drivers already with lots of experience and talent way beyond the effectiveness of their current car, such as Albon, Hulk et al..

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