Red Bull/Mercedes gap justifies low-rake complaints - Aston

Red Bull’s reduced gap to Mercedes in races this year proves that high rake cars have been hurt the least by new Formula 1 aero rules, reckons Aston Martin.

Red Bull/Mercedes gap justifies low-rake complaints - Aston

While Lewis Hamilton has won two of the races so far this campaign with a low rake concept, his Mercedes team has been run close by Red Bull at all three events.

This contrast of how close Red Bull is this season compared to 12 months ago shows just how much the 2021 floor changes have impacted things, Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer believes.

"If you just look at the last race without the [final] pit stops, Lewis was 34 seconds ahead of Max at last year's Portimao," said Szafnauer. "And had they not had the pitstops at the end to try to get the fastest lap, I think this year there was four seconds in it.

"So they [Mercedes] lost 30 seconds in one race to a Red Bull. And we too, if you look at our times where we finished, we too were about 30 seconds behind from where we were last year. So just look at the first three races, look at both qualifying as well as race results."

Read Also:

Aston Martin has been in discussions with the FIA in recent weeks to try to get a better understanding of the rules process and motivation for changing the floors.

While its hopes of getting a rules concession to help the lower rake cars are fading, Szafnauer said he was happy at least that the team had received some answers.

"We've had good discussions with the FIA to understand the process and how we got to where we got to," he said.

"The discussions have almost come to an end and I think we've made good progress to having a better understanding of what transpired."

Szafnauer revealed that as early as last summer, his team was already alerted about how the floor changes would hurt the low rake cars when it did some windtunnel back-to-back tests.

"We had developed a high rake car for many, many years, since the high rake concept started with a blown floor, and we are the only one to change from a high rake philosophy to a low rake.

"So we've got the ability internally, through both CFD and doing tunnel runs, as well as the experience of both, to have a look at the changes, and be able to determine if it is more detrimental to one philosophy than the other, which is exactly what we did.

"It's exactly what we brought up in August of last year, and I think were proven correct."

Szafnauer said that three teams were against the floor changes, and made clear their unease during an indicative vote at the Technical Advisory Committee.

However, with the FIA pushing the regulation changes through on safety grounds, there was no avenue open for Aston Martin to stop the new rules.

Szafnauer said Aston Martin did propose that F1 look at an alternative to changing the floor, but this was not accepted.

"We proposed to not have the second change that was made because the changes came in succession," he said.

"We thought the first change that was applied was enough to slow the cars, so we suggested to just keep it there.

"But there were other solutions that were proposed, and not by us but early on.

"I'll give you an example, of reducing the rear wing size, and that would have affected everybody equally. But that wasn't chosen."

Asked if there was anything else Aston Martin could have done, Szafnauer said: "I don't think so. We pointed it out at the time, and once the regulations were written and accepted, we [just had to] work hard at trying to claw back all the downforce that we lost."

shares
comments

Related video

Spanish GP practice as it happened
Previous article

Spanish GP practice as it happened

Next article

AlphaTauri explains why it voted against cost cap rule change

AlphaTauri explains why it voted against cost cap rule change
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022