As the Silverstone-based squad revealed its new AMR24 car on Monday morning, it suggested that the closing up of the F1 grid provided a golden opportunity for someone to knock the world champion outfit off the top step.
While Aston Martin’s technical director Dan Fallows suggested that success was now down to details, he reckoned there was still enough performance potential to allow someone to jump in front of Red Bull.
“People are getting very close and I think that suggests people are probably less able to take a big conceptual step away from the kind of things that we’re seeing on the majority of cars,” he said.
“The thing is we’re really into finding lap times now from things that are really smaller details. They’re kind of more detailed elements of the floor and other parts of the car.
“But there’s still a lot of lap time to come and we take the approach that Red Bull are absolutely beatable. That’s what we’re chasing after – we’re focusing on them. And that’s what we’re aiming for.”
While Fallow’s thoughts on Red Bull are more about a mindset than him suggesting Aston Martin has a car right now to do it, he believes that something his team needs to prioritise this year is being more consistent and producing an aggressive development plan.
“We talk about Red Bull because, obviously, they are the benchmark in terms of performance, but really whoever’s the fastest car is the focus for us,” he said. “And that’s what we were looking at.
The Red Bull trophy delegate, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd position, spray Champagne on the podium
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“Rather than thinking about individual races, from an engineering point of view, we have to make a car that’s capable of operating at any circuit and being competitive. And that’s really what we’re focused on: making a car that’s usable, that’s good for the drivers.
“That’s what we’ve really been trying to sort of focus on. Those sorts of competitive stats and how we get close to Red Bull will come after that. If we put that performance on the car, then we give ourselves the ability to compete at that level, which is exactly what we want.”
While Fallows is setting ambitious targets for the team, Fernando Alonso is a little bit more circumspect about how he sees things playing out over the 2024 season.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he shared Fallows’ optimism, Alonso said: “Well, that’s a good thing, that he says that! It puts a smile on my face.
“I didn’t speak with Dan for a few weeks now but I think we have to be optimistic at this part of the season. I think we saw last year as well, Ferrari finished really strong and achieved a few pole positions in the last part of the year.
“McLaren also made a huge step during the season and got close to Red Bull in a few races. So yeah, let’s see what happens.
“I think we have to be regularly in the points first, fighting for podiums, or be a contender for podiums, as we did last year.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
“And then if we are in that position, it will be lovely to achieve the first victory in green, for Aston Martin. Hopefully, I can be behind the wheel at that moment.
“But I think we have to go step by step. It’s going to be very tight. There are four or five teams within two or three-tenths of a second this year, I bet.
“So that will put you within two-tenths of a second fighting for podiums or fighting out of the top 10. We need to be really focused on that.”
Lance Stroll believes that Aston Martin’s best approach was to concentrate on getting the most out of itself, rather than obsessing over Red Bull.
“I don’t think our goal is really to go out and beat Red Bull,” he said. “I mean, we want to get there eventually, but our goal is really to just be the strongest team we can be.
“We have a lot of ideas, a lot of things in the pipeline to be a much stronger team. And that’s where our focus is at.”
Additional reporting by Alex Kalinauckas
Source: Boxing News 24