Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Aston Martin “brutal with ourselves” about performance after finishing fifth

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Aston Martin say they are not disappointed to have fallen from second in the constructors’ championship to eventually finish in fifth.

The Silverstone-based team were the story of the early season, as they went from a seventh place finish in the championship in 2022 to scoring regular podiums in the opening rounds of the 2023 season.

Aston Martin ran second in the constructors’ championship from the opening race in Bahrain until the end of the Spanish Grand Prix, where they were overtaken by Mercedes. Over the remainder of the season, they were also passed by both Ferrari and eventually McLaren in the later rounds, ultimately ending the year in fifth place.

Asked if fifth was a disappointment for his team given their early season performance, team principal Mike Krack said his team had always kept their performance in perspective.

“It’s not a disappointment, because you need to be realistic about where you are,” he said.

“We started the year in a very good position, but we also need to analyse why have we been in that position. If you really analyse that and be realistic about where you are, then you cannot be disappointed. We were surprised – and I think everybody was surprised – that some teams were not coming out of the starting blocks as we have expected. And then by developing, they came back to their say, more natural position. That is something that we cannot influence with the firing power that we were having.

“So from that point of view, I think it would be wrong to say that this part is a disappointment. It is something that we know that we need to work on for the future, if we want to become a stronger team. But I think it would be not correct to put this as a disappointment.”

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The team’s performance director, Tom McCullough, said Aston Martin are more concerned with data and and knowledge, rather than than their ultimate finishing positions.

“I think also we’re brutal with ourselves,” said McCullough. We’re very understanding-led as opposed to results-led. Because if you’re too results-led, you get lost, really, in this game.”

McCullough pointed to the Australian Grand Prix, where team drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll finished third and fourth for their biggest points haul of the season, as an example of where the team’s result did not match their relative performance level.

“We came away from Melbourne, the third race of the year, we finished third and fourth, so you can say ‘well done’, pat yourself on the back, but we were clearly the fourth-fastest team at that circuit with those characteristics,” he explained. “And that was race three. So we took a look at all that data, we understood why.

“That’s all part of the feeding into the development of the car. That’s the reality – we really are brutal, post-race weekend. It doesn’t matter what result we’ve got, it’s ‘where were we good? Where were we bad? What do we need to work around?’.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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10 comments on “Aston Martin “brutal with ourselves” about performance after finishing fifth”

  1. Where were we good? #14
    Where were we bad? #18
    What do we need to work around? The boss

    No seriously though, didn’t they say at the start of preseason testing that they invested a lot in the base package and wouldn’t have a lot of budget to upgrade through the year? I’ve tried to search for those quotes but had no luck.

    It would track with this quote about not having the “firing power” to keep up with development.

  2. The team shouldn’t feel bad. They did all they could. They had a car to finish in the top 5 easily for the first half of the season and only one car did it.

    1. Didn’t Melbourne happen in the first half of the season…?
      Alonso was classified 3rd, and Stroll was 4th.

      And it’s not like Stroll was a mile way from the top 5 in the first half of the year at other events either, taking two 6th’s and a 7th during the opening 7 GP’s.

  3. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    2nd December 2023, 16:12

    Just need to replace stroll with someone consistent.

    1. Even that leads to 4th place though as things went with car development in 2023, just 1 place better than happened.

      1. To be fair.. they only had a tyre management advantage on Ferrari and Mercedes up until Barcelona, it’s not like their package was quicker than either Mercedes or Ferrari. Once Mercedes and Ferrari got their tyre issues sorted, P4 was the best they could have hoped for in the WCC.

  4. This is bogus. They need to dump Lance Stroll for a potential champion driver. They should have been fighting for 2nd place this year and next year they are going to have the same problem. Aston Martin isn’t a serious team as long as they let Lance Stroll continue to hold them back.

  5. I would say from the start they had, it was always a question of can they maintain the level throughout but they could not, still compared to McLaren, Aston Martin was in and around the top 10 expect a few races that should be taken as positive thing. And in the last few races they would have come to a conclusion that the base package is good, just that they messed up the upgrades. So they can comeback too. I think the way McLaren came back Aston got overshadowed, even the F1 pundits or even the host broadcasting channel didn’t give them much importance, most were raving about McLaren. I feel Aston martin can be proud. Regardless of how people view them

  6. Coventry Climax
    3rd December 2023, 13:22

    When it was still Force India, and possibly even before that, this team quite consistently punched above their weight, especially considering their very tight budget. The engineers though, knew exactly what they were doing and came up with some very decent, very cost effective cars, to say the least.
    Then some clown came along with the idea to just 1-on-1 copy the champion car of the previous season, including a design filosophy the engineers had zero understanding idea of, simply because it wasn’t theirs. That took a while to sort out, and they’re possibly even suffering from it still.
    I wonder what would have happened if these guys would just have had a bigger budget, but be allowed to do their own development, including come up with their own car for the repeat ground effect era. You might even wonder what would have happened with two decent drivers instead of just one with the other being nothing more than a mill stone to drag around.
    Sure, it’s all just ‘what if’ now, but still.
    Under that structure though, Lance would never have gotten any chance in the first place, which to my opinion, would not have been a loss at all.

    1. Surely with a decent 2nd driver and with the original engineering team and with a bigger budget, they could’ve at least matched this year’s ferrari or mercedes, I don’t see why they couldn’t have been a top team.

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