Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2024

Why Aston Martin expect their AMR24 can keep pace in the development race

Formula 1

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Can Aston Martin’s first ever Formula 1 car ever produced by their brand new, state-of-the-art new factory in Silverstone prove a worthy successor to its high achieving 2023 model?

When the team introduced last year’s car, its third in British Racing Green and second to F1’s ground effect regulations, they signalled their intention to build on the momentum they regained over the second half of the 2022 season.

Last year technical director Dan Fallows said they “wanted to tackle these regulations without compromise” in ther AMR22. “We want to move up the grid and start challenging the teams at the front – and you can’t do that by sitting back and being conservative.”

One full season and eight podiums later, that aggressive approach has been fully justified. But as the 2023 season ran on, the podiums and points grew increasingly scarcer. Eventually they ended up in fifth place in the constructors’ championship, behind McLaren, who overhauled them after making a slow start.

However Aston Martin’s slow rate of progress towards the end of last year was partly due to decisions they made, which Fallows expects will pay dividends with their new car.

“I think it’s no secret that we took a pragmatic approach to the end of last season,” he told media including RaceFans. “We wanted to make sure that we used every opportunity to really learn the lessons that we needed to learn on AMR23.”

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As Aston Martin faded out of regular podium contention last year, the team began to use Friday practice sessions to gain preliminary data on new parts. Infamously, it caught them out at Circuit of the Americas, where the knock-on effects of problems in the sole practice session on Friday resulted in both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll being eliminated from Q1. But Fallows believes the approach has paid off.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2024
First pictures: Stroll gives new Aston Martin AMR24 its track debut
“We had effectively a kind of glorified test session almost in some of the races,” he explained. “But it was important for us to do that.

“We recognised that we needed to do something that was going to teach us lessons for 2024 and we did. And I think to come out of that having achieved good performances towards the end of the season, culminating in a podium in Brazil and [fifth] place [in the championship], which was a great result for us, and then to come out of that and then to obviously have that momentum going into this year, I think that was the really key bit for us. Having been through that process and continuing that momentum into ’24, I think gives us a lot of confidence going into this season.”

After many millions of pounds’ worth on investment in the new Aston Martin Racing Technology Campus – the first entirely new facility in Formula 1 for almost two decades – Aston Martin believe the first chassis produced in it will be a “a lighter, more aerodynamically efficient race car than last year. The AMR24 fundamentally sticks to the philosophy of last year’s car but has some key refinements from the front to the rear.

“Even with the stable regulations, there are endless possibilities for refinement,” Fallows said.

“I would call the AMR24 a strong evolution of last year’s car. It does look quite different with many new parts to give us a strong platform for development. The chassis design is new, as well as the nose, front wing, front suspension and rear suspension. We want to compete in the development race this season and this car is designed to do just that.

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“Another area of focus has been to broaden the car’s operating window. We have focused on more versatility for a wider range of specific circuit characteristics. We want a race car that is more of an all-rounder. We believe the AMR24 provides the ideal platform for in-season development and a sustained season-long challenge.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2024
Revised front wing should improve efficiency
That versatility is something the drivers have been pushing for. The team expect the AMR24 to be a more consistent performer across low, medium and high-downforce circuits.

“From the car, I basically would love to have a little bit more downforce, especially in the high speed corners,” Alonso said. “That probably was one weak area last year that I think we tried to improve in this year’s car.

“Top speed was not the best – last year we were always fighting on the straights and we were on the bottom on the charts, always, on top speed. We tried to be a little bit more efficient this year, a little bit faster on the straight. So there are a couple of points that I would love to see in the car when we hit the Bahrain winter testing, which probably will help us on Sundays on the race weekends.”

The big technical talking point of the 2024 launch season has been around Red Bull-esque pull-rod front suspension. But the team have not joined their rivals who have switched to a pull-rod concept with their 2024 car.

“The front suspension layout, that’s a similar layout to what we had on AMR23, so still a push-rod,” he said. However the first images of the car indicate Aston Martin have innovated by adding a more pronounced curvature to the upper part of its front suspension, to better condition the airflow across it.

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The team has made significant modifications to the rear of the AMR24 to accommodate the new Mercedes-sourced gearbox for this season. Here too a push-rod set-up has been retained, though its geometry has been revised.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Silverstone, 2024
The AMR23’s push-rod suspension has been revised at both ends
“We’ve inherited new suspension from Mercedes,” Fallows explained. “Obviously they give us the gearbox and the structure of the rear suspension so that has changed slightly from last year as well. So there’s a change on the rear but the front is very similar.

“Work has been done on both ends of the car’s suspension. The front will work more efficiently alongside the front wing, and aero work has been done at the rear to optimise our layout in that area.”

Aston Martin hopes that this season will provide another significant step forward in its quest to build towards becoming a world championship contending team. After last year’s car began the season so strongly before falling back as the year progressed, Fallows is confident that they can provide a more consistent level of performance over 2024. Crucially, he also believes the team is better placed to improve its car over the course of the year, in order to reduce the chance of them being overhauled by their rivals again.

“We’re very pleased with the step that we’ve made over the winter,” he said. “We think we have made a step on last year’s car, which is what we wanted.

“But in truth, it is a short off-season. And we were developing things that were relevant for this year quite late on into last season. So the main aim for us is really to make sure that this car is a good platform to put those developments on during the season.

“We’ve seen, particularly last season, but also the season before, the in-season development races is absolutely fierce, and we want to be as competitive in that as we have been going into the new season. So that’s what we’ve been really focussed on is to make sure that we’ve got a good, stable basis for us to go and develop the car and keep those updates coming and keep the performance coming.”

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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...

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5 comments on “Why Aston Martin expect their AMR24 can keep pace in the development race”

  1. The engineers must wonder what their car could do with definite top drivers in it. It’ll be interesting to see what Felipe Drugovich does, with no practice, as I’m not convinced about Fernando at 42

    1. How can you not be convinced with Fernando, specially after last year? What else do you need?

      As for the other seat, yes. They urgently need someone that performs well everywhere, every time. Otherwise, they’ll be eaten alive again by the other 4 teams, even if this car is much better than the others. You can only go so far with 1 guy scoring the big points and troubling the leaders…

      1. It’s definitely a disadvantage in a championship fight, it’s a bit what verstappen had to face in 2021, in several races, when perez wasn’t at bottas level: he had to fight both mercedes alone and that gave them strategic options.

      2. Fernando delivered some of the best moments of the year, and his heroics at Interlagos should make the highlights of the decade. Hopefully he can work on his consistency. He had one or two blips (like the sprint crash at Spa). Perhaps those would not be considered a big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that Max’s consistency is scary and something I’m not sure has ever been seen. It might be a challenge for him to keep that level up and once mistakes creep in it might be hard to get back to it. Max’s challenge might be interest. Will he want more of a challenge? It would be good if he found himself in a car slightly off the pace or had the best driver on the grid after Lewis as a team mate. Race pace is important here. I’m not sure who is remarkable at that after Max and Lewis, though. Alonso is great at swashbuckling overtaking, but that’s not so important when there’s DRS to help out all the other drivers (other than Max) who aren’t so good at it! George had some good races where he was flying it. As much as they moaned, I reckon it was the next best car last year. It looked menacing at CoTA and in Singapore.

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