Aston Martin says its greater aerodynamic testing allocation relative to its rivals is an advantage that the Silverstone-based outfit is actively leveraging to its advantage.
Aston’s 2023 car has been the revelation of the season so far, the AMR23 finishing third in the hands of Fernando Alonso in the opening three races of its campaign and proving to be a match for its Mercedes and Ferrari rivals.
The team hopes to uphold its momentum in the coming months, thanks in part to the updates that will find their way onto its contender.
And to make the most of its development programme, Aston is relying on a 100% baseline aerodynamic testing allocation that significantly exceeds that of leader Red Bull but also of Mercedes and Ferrari.
As a reminder, as part of F1’s cost cap measures that were introduced in 2021, teams are restricted in the number of wind tunnel testing runs and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) hours they can use do to develop their racing car.
Each team’s Aerodynamic Testing Restriction (ATR) is determined by its position in the Constructors’ standings at two points: the end of the previous season and on June 30 of the current season, with the worst-performing teams having the most development opportunity.
Reigning world champions Red Bull therefore started the season with the toughest restrictions, or 63%, a number that also takes into account the cost cap penalty levied upon the team last November.
Ferrari and Mercedes’ ATRs are 75% and 80% respectively, while Aston can take advantage of the full baseline allowance thanks to its 100% ATR.
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“It’s definitely an advantage, we try to use it as much as we can,” Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough told AS.
“The more time you have, the more sessions you do and the more things you can analyse.
“We are every week in the wind tunnel looking for development avenues that can bring significant performance, keeping the cost ceiling in mind.
“From Baku onwards, parts will come in. It’s really the process that everyone is doing right now.”
Lawrence Stroll with Aston Martin performance director Tim McCullough.