Azerbaijan F1 GP 2023: Time for evolutions for Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari


Lcurrent ones 2023 single-seaters debut on February 23 in Bahrin and there the teams could get an idea of ​​what their weakest points were, if there was a correlation between what the tunnel data and the simulation programs said and what the runway threw, to start the development programs of the ao.

next week, in Bakmore than two months will have passed, and the result of all sensor holders and paraffin that covers the cars completely in Sakhir, they will begin to arrive in cars in the form of new parts. The search for more aerodynamic load points is the ‘holy grail’ of F1, to improve cornering, but there are more things for other teams, like Aston Martin, who need to unlock top speed on the straight, or for Ferrari, for whom the race pace and improve the degradation is one of their priorities.

And in front of all of them Red Bull, with its policy of continuous evolution, with parts in almost all races of the calendar that are consolidating the strength of a car that still has no rival and to which the configuration of the urban circuit of Bak, with about two kilometers of straight added, where they have dominated in performance in recent years. They are the reference and everyone tries to adopt some of their solutions, which They have their great strength in the efficiency of the ground and the suspensions. Regarding the main pursuers, in order in the Constructors’ World Championship, this is what they are expected to have in Azerbaijan or what they are said to have:

Aston Martin

His position of clear second team in Bahrin and Jeddah, two very different layouts in terms of the needs of the cars, I gave them as an example behind Red Bull, but in Australia they were already surpassed by Mercedes, both in qualifying and in the race. Ferdinand Alonso, despite a great race, could not intimidate Lewis Hamilton for second place, since the degradation in Melbourne was almost nil, something that he could assert in the two previous appointments with the AMR23.

In Bak, the rear tires suffer a lot, especially the right one. One only has to remember Verstappen’s blowout in 2021, and the cut on the wheels of many other pilots. They were other single-seaters, but the stress of the track, with a lot of left turns, remains and that seems a great advantage for an AMR23 whose strong point is mechanical traction (very important in slow 90 degree corners) and which balances both axes very well. Well, the problem is to warm up the front tires to have optimum grip.

As MARCA has learned, Aston Martin plans to debut the specific medium-low load package this year, which will later be used on other tracks, with the famous new wing that has been discussed in many articles, but which is accompanied by modifications to the ground and wheelbase. frontal. They may have a few more improvements than expected, although the team’s sporting director, Mike Krack, is in favor of not going crazy for one simple thing: “If we get too ambitious or lose focus a bit, then we don’t improve. And in Formula 1, if you don’t improve, you’re going backwards.” alerts Alonso’s boss. They have an improvement already in the winter that other teams have not achieved in years.

The format Sprintwhich opens in 2023 next week, doesn’t help either, because There is only one Free 1 before Qualifying on Friday afternoon, which forces you to arrive very sure of what you are riding in the car, since there are no other two Free sessions, as usual, to retrace possible bad roads. “The bigger upgrades will come later. We’ll have some new parts in Bak, Imola, Montreal and also in Silverstone. But we will use each little advance as soon as it is ready, instead of waiting to bundle everything into big packages. It’s an approach that worked well for us last year with the AMR22,” adds Krack, in what seems to want to emulate Red Bull’s style of working at the factory.

Mercedes, cargo and suspensions

For those of Brackley, lThe shortcomings seem to be on the opposite side to those of Aston Martin: they are fast on the straight but lack medium and slow cornering and suffer from degradation as seen in Bahrain. For them, the overall charge gain It is the greatest need and they do not hide it. “We’re working hard in the wind tunnel to find more downforce,” says technical director James Allison.

“We will also work in the design office to bring some new mechanical parts to the car, some different suspension components that we think will help improve the balance of the car and make it more manageable, giving drivers more confidence to push to the limit. And we will continue to work on the normal simulation routine that allows us to prepare for the upcoming race weekends, making sure that the car is in the right position when we arrive at each of the races. The pilots are missing on a W14 that was born (like its predecessor) difficult to drive, although it is responding much better to improvements, as was seen in Australia.

The simulator will be key to arriving at Bak well prepared, as the British Mercedes engineer recalls. “Sprint races reward teams that achievearrive with a very good or almost perfect configuration, ready for qualifying, because time is very short on these types of weekends”, he warns. That is why the drivers of all the teams have worked overtime this week in the factories, to try to find out what they can find in Azerbaijan.

Ferrari, new diffuser?

In addition to improving the low-medium load kit, which did not go very well in Jeddah, there are rumors from Italy of a series of improvements that could be ready for the next round. According to the Italian edition of ‘’, in Maranello they would have hastened the arrival of a new diffuser and somewhat modified pontoons in the lower area, with a larger corridor between the radiators and the ground, in the style of Red Bull or Aston Martin. There is nothing confirmed on this point, Of course, and more taking into account that Ferrari has warned that “there will not be a B car visually, nor a radical change in concept”, which is what invites us to think about a change of sides, in the fourth race of the year. suspensions for Imola and another new evolution of the bodywork for Barcelona They are other of the improvements that are being ventured, but they seem like many very important steps for a team that has never made so many changes throughout the same season.

What is true is that Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have been intensively testing the improvements and the configuration of the SF-23 in the simulator in Maranello. A good race pace and controlling the degradation is much more important to them than magic solutions for a car that is fast on almost all circuits and whose weak point is on certain Sundays with the tires. In Australia there was no such problem, but that does not mean that it does not occur again in Bak.

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