Aston Martin “made their car slower and slower with every upgrade” – Norris

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Lando Norris is puzzled by Aston Martin’s downturn in form during the 2023 season, saying their car has got slower every time they brought new parts to it.

McLaren overtook Aston Martin for fourth place in the constructors’ championship at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix. McLaren had trailed their rivals by 102 points just four rounds prior.

“We’re in a good rhythm,” said Norris, who scored his fourth consecutive podium finish last weekend. “It’s been clear that Aston are just, I don’t know, they seem to have made their cars slower and slower with every upgrade that they brought.”

While Norris finished second in Austin after two post-race disqualifications, the only Aston Martin to take the chequered flag finished seventh in Lance Stroll’s hands.

“They were out in Q1 and they’ve been struggling,” said Norris. “So I don’t know what their issues are, but they were very strong, they got a lot of points in the first half of the season and the second half they’ve been struggling. For us it’s vice-versa.”

McLaren’s turnaround has been remarkable given how poor their start to the season was, said Norris.

“When you look at where we were, how bad Bahrain was for us, how many seconds off pole we were, my six pit stops in the first race of the season, I lost my power unit straight away, so there’s things which put us on the back foot from the beginning.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“When you look at where we are now, to be fighting against a Red Bull, who was an unrealistic target for almost anyone, and fighting against a Mercedes – as much as we are obviously disappointed that we couldn’t go for a race win, when you put it in perspective of where we were and how much we’ve improved, I think it’s still an amazing day for us.”

However Norris believes McLaren’s best chances of winning a race this year have passed them by as the four remaining tracks won’t suit their car as well as the ones they have recently visited.

“I think Qatar was our best chance of winning a race and I missed out on that one. I don’t want to say ‘no’, I don’t want to say ‘never’ but there’s no super high-speed, Suzuka-style circuits left, Qatar-style circuits left, which is where we’re strong.

“If you look at the GPS and the overlays of how bad we are in the slow speed, I’m not looking forward to Brazil, I think we’re going to be pretty shocking there.”

“Maybe Abu Dhabi, you never know,” he added. “We’ll see. I don’t think there are any good ones for us coming up. I think our best have kind of gone.

“But I just want to be hopeful that we can do good results. I think we can still fight for podiums. But [Verstappen and Hamilton] were too quick for me. They’ve been, I would say, quicker all weekend on average.

“We just about keep up in qualifying when we have that new rubber and the super-low fuel and things like that, we can look decent. But I think realistically we’re not at the level as a general package with these guys.

“So not great ones coming up, but you know, Vegas, Abu Dhabi are probably the better ones.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 United States Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 United States Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

30 comments on “Aston Martin “made their car slower and slower with every upgrade” – Norris”

  1. Wind tunnel allotment

    1. No because final position-based prize money is still more relevant.

      1. Aston Martin just built a new facility with a new tunnel and was too far behind Red Bull. Their only chance at the goal of winning the championship is a better car by using this new tunnel. In 2024, with ex-Red Bull designers and development advantage, Astin Martin will be something completely different

        1. Uh, the wind tunnel’s construction isn’t even slated to be finished until mid-summer of 2024. So, you mean, 2025. Either way, the wind tunnel won’t be a game changer. If they understood where they were going, the wind tunnel they share with Mercedes right now would produce just as good of results.

      2. If there’s anything Aston Martin doesn’t need it’s money.

        It’s also a bit too much “4D Chess” to presume they’re deliberately trying to drop in the WCC. They’re probably just not able to put everything together; the team is changing rapidly, they’re moving their operations in the middle of a season, their old factory is not up to par with that of the teams they’re now fighting, etc. It’s to be expected that they’re falling back a bit relative to others. The new parts are probably still better than the original car, just not as great a step as others have made. It’s actually quite rare to have updates that plainly don’t work; Ferrari in 2018 being the obvious example, where they just took them all off and instantly won the next race.

        1. I agree (except for the part about their speed going backward only relative to the field and not themselves). With the design regs staying the same, there’s more to be had from continuing to make your current car better than getting a little extra wind tunnel and CFD time but having no idea if your developments actually work. They had tons of CFD and wind tunnel time up until July 1 and they made no progress.

          I believe of some of their earliest updates worked, but basically nothing since Canada has even remotely worked. Their self-described “major update” in Austin was so bad, they scraped it and reverted to Qatar spec. Seems like Dan Fallows’ mind may fallow rather than feculent.

          1. Yes, this is exactly like that ferrari 2018 update which caused the only races where they underperformed, and after they reverted they were back tobeing competitive, like michael said.

          2. to being*

          3. Yeah, It’s absurd to think they would do that on purpose. They just simply struggle to make parts that do what their simulations tell them they should do.

            I guess it’s about a team learning, they stepped up, invested a lot in new stuff and brought in many new people, and now it takes time to tune what comes out of that team and the process to evaluate whether something will work.

    2. Wind tunnel allotment

      Terrible idea. Nothing would grow, it would all get blown away.

      1. @bullfrog Agreed.

        A new tyre allotment would likely be better, though I am unsure about what chemicals may leech into the soil.

  2. LV should be good for Mclaren, though.

  3. Interesting leuke ne of thought.
    They again copied a car without knowledge of the defining choices made by the developer and the main cause for lack of development.
    Their own development scheme does not fit the choices made by the real development path.

    1. Edit. Line of thought

    2. Dan Fallows was RBR’s chief aerodynamicist. You think he didn’t understand the aerodynamics of the car to which he was chief aerodynamicist? If you don’t like the Strolls or the team, that’s fine, but you should avoid putting your foot in your mouth.

      Anyway, there’s no such thing as “copying” in F1. There is so much more than aerodynamics that makes the RBR fast. Its concept wouldn’t even function without many of the non-aero components of the car. And other engineers know that. So, to say anyone has just gone ahead and copied a design they couldn’t grasp is absurdity.

  4. rub it in why don’t cha

  5. He just described Mclaren the previous 4-5 seasons.

  6. dontmentionpirelli
    25th October 2023, 17:48

    “they got a lot of points in the first half of the season and the second half they’ve been struggling”

    Gee, what happened in the middle of the season again? Hard to remember because you’re not allowed to talk about it…

    Oh that’s it, new tyres that “no one” asked for. Be nice to have a deep dive article on the effects of the new pirellis as a clue to why they were issued.

  7. Gee, what happened in the middle of the season again?

    Since you ask:
    TD018 and a refresh/clarification of TD039 (2022)
    To refresh your memory, the refresh of TD039 clarified that floor mounting had no flexibility of gap tolerance and that the floor plane should be solidly, with 0mm gap, fastened to the chassis.
    It was pointed out that at least one competitor deviated from the expected setup.

    Everyone assumed that this would hit Red Bull, Merc or Ferrari, and no-one seems to have publicly suggested that it might be Aston Martin.
    It may be co-incidence, but then if was someone else pushing the limits beyond permitted levels, then why has no one else fallen off that badly?

    1. dontmentionpirelli
      25th October 2023, 21:50

      Singapore was round 16. Hardly the middle. Round 11 on the other hand…

      1. And they weren’t even running that differently there. Alonso was in content for a position in the 5-8 range before he got suspension damage, which is exactly where the car had been in recent rounds except for the Dutch GP which was all down to rain allowing for driver skill to be a major determining factor, which Alonso made the most of.

        So common sense, SteveP, is why no one has been public suggesting it was AM…

        1. why no one has been public suggesting it was AM…

          Everyone knows that someone was doing it.
          Most of the noise is from people suggesting that it was, perhaps, how RBR were “cheating” – based on a silly assumption that they’d need to cheat like that with an Adrian Newey design to maximise the benefits of a set of regs that play to ANs strengths.

          RBR fans jumped at the assumption that it was Merc, because obviously being down the order demonstrated how that worked.

          and some pointed at Ferrari based on, well, the past record of Ferrari.

          So, back to my question:

          It may be co-incidence, but then if was someone else pushing the limits beyond permitted levels, then why has no one else fallen off that badly?

          The aim of the FIA TD’s is to ensure that teams comply with the regs, not to provide a news story about who did what. They do discuss the changes with teams before publishing them, so you should expect teams to change before the door slams on their fingers.

          The expectation is that the change required to meet the ‘clarified’ regs will disadvantage one or more teams. Which ones (plural) of the teams have had a drop in performance starting around the time of the TD’s?

      2. Absolutely, aston martin were already getting worse before that singapore directive.

        1. One might even say Aston was already well and truly into an inescapable, downward Mazespiral by that point…

          1. Ahah, yes, I was even thinking that with the car so horrible now, I don’t think it’s such a problem any more that stroll is driving it, it’s only a problem when the car is good cause it’s been clear to see he’s not capable to drive a top car at the level he should, however alonso should go somewhere else if the car doesn’t improve, since he’s still pretty good.

          2. RBR would be great. Won’t happen, but it’d be perfect as, while if Alonso was still 35, it’d be too close and create too much chaos. But at this age, Max should have enough of an edge that it wouldn’t become all out war, especially since no one else would be able to challenge often enough for taking points off each other to matter and FA would likely, even if Max had a solid lead, would likely just be happy to finally have a car capable of winning again.

  8. The true testament of a top tier team is always their in season development. We knew that Aston Martin found themselves in an unexpected place at the start of the season, and it would be difficult for a midfield team to keep the likes of Ferrari and Mercedes behind as the season continued. But, to have them move from the 2nd fastest team to the 6th fastest team within the span of 10 races is quite horrendous. It feels like they pulled a Haas 2018, where they started with a fast car that was copied from a rival.. Then they had no clue about how to develop the car further or maximise it’s performance, and they ended up not even finishing in the points by the end of the season.

    I still don’t regard Aston any more capable than Alpine when it comes to challenging for wins and championships, despite having more resources at their disposal. In 2024, the best Aston can ask for will be another P5 finish in the WCC.

    1. I still don’t regard Aston any more capable than Alpine when it comes to challenging for wins and championships


  9. Suspecting some setup related, they were quicker in race with stroll running the new spec .. I heard there are more updates coming for Mexico …

  10. Aston martin seemed to have a better race pace at Austin and they believe that they have turned the corner last race, so they are pretty optimistic now. They expect the upgrades are working as expected, the brake problems in FP1 last race masked the potential,

    I feel Lando norris can say whatever he wants but one thing is it was McLaren that screwed up this year’s first half from a good position from last year, and Aston Martin apart from slowing down they were always in the top ten this season. And they can only learn things from here.

Comments are closed.