The Aston Martin F1 Team will be keeping an eye on Mercedes’ performance gains this season, as both team’s 2021 cars have a similar aerodynamic design philosophy and share numerous components, team principal Otmar Szafnauer has said.
Mercedes and Aston Martin have both been hit hard by the 2021 regulation changes, which mandated cuts to the rear floor area in a bid to lower cornering speeds and loads following a number of tyres bursting last season.
Racing Point, as Aston Martin was called last season, had the third-fastest car on the grid in 2020, but their new challenger appears to be one of the slowest cars in Formula One at the moment.
While the changes also seem to have cost Mercedes lap time, they have only fallen down the pecking order by one position, with only Red Bull appearing to have a more competitive car.
Following the 2021 season-opener in Bahrain, which Sir Lewis Hamilton won, Mercedes said they had taken a big step forward from pre-season testing a couple of weeks earlier.
Szafnauer has said he is encouraged by Mercedes’ progress and is hopeful that Aston Martin can potentially replicate it.
“I think for sure we have to look and see what type of lap times they are able to do,” Szafnauer said in an interview with Formula1.com when asked how much Aston Martin can learn from Mercedes.
“We have the same powertrain, the same gearbox, same rear suspension so if they are able to do some of those lap times, we should be able to get close – so that gives us some hope.”
Continuing, he said: “I think a lot of the teams are a lot closer to Mercedes this year than they were last year, including Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.
“I mean if you look back to see where Ferrari were three months ago and where they are now to Mercedes – just have a look at the lap times and that will give you a picture.”