Aston Martin admits it was a mistake to make “painful” F1 experiments so public

In recent months, Aston Martin has worked to effectively reverse engineer components developed for next year and then fitted them to the current AMR23, with the floor an area of focus.

But amid a decline in results for a team that scored a podium in six of the opening eight races, during the recent United States and Mexican Grands Prix weekends, it split drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll between old and new floor specifications to conduct real-world back-to-back testing.

During those rounds, the team banked only six points before cherry-picking components for the most recent Brazilian GP, when Fernando Alonso pipped Sergio Perez to return to the podium in third place.

Two-time champion Alonso admits that those “experiments” were “painful” to endure. He said: “We had to experiment a little bit on a few things on the car to really understand the direction that we were going, and we have to go for next year’s car as well.

“So, those races were painful, especially Mexico. I think we were very slow as a team.”

Ahead of the final two rounds of the season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough now acknowledges that it was a mistake for the team to carry out so much research and development in public.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

He said: “We’re really just focusing, these next few races, on trying to get as many points as we can do, rather than doing too many R&D projects in front of you all at the track.

“We really got into trying to do some big testing and understanding for next year, which we’ve done and got all that data in the bank.

“It is tough doing all the R&D, especially during a sprint event [Austin, only one free practice session before parc ferme takes effect]… we don’t want to be starting from the pitlane [to change car specification].

“We’ve introduced some parts, we’ve done some testing. We did a bit too much R&D work in front of you all, and over two race weekends, which maybe in hindsight wasn’t the right thing to do.

“But we’re pretty happy that we’ve got a good understanding of the way to develop the car, which is key for next year.”

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Team boss Mike Krack added that Aston had ‘sacrificed results’ but that it was not about pandering to the “outside world”.

He said: “This is not about the outside world, this is about ourselves. We wanted to learn as much as possible for next year. But obviously, then you sacrifice a bit the results…

“You have a range of parts that you combine them. The cars are very complicated and you need to really understand the different areas, how they interact with each other.”

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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