This is why Mercedes’ gearbox is hurting Aston Martin’s performance

Aston Martin currently buys parts from Mercedes, including the rear suspension and the gearbox, as well as sharing the Brackley-based team’s wind tunnel.

Aston Martin has found itself bagging back-to-back podium places in 2023 with the only car on the grid that appears able to take on the dominant Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

The AMR23’s leap in performance, compared with last year’s AMR22, was reflected in Aston Martin’s strong race pace around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

“We were much stronger than Ferrari, and we managed to control Mercedes. All this was unthinkable before the weekend,” Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso admitted in a post-race interview. 

With Aston Martin’s growing success has come attempts by other teams to claim credit for their performance in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. 

READ: Fernando Alonso fires back at ‘following the money’ accusations

As the Aston Martin does bear some similarity to the aerodynamic design of last season’s title-winning car, Red Bull’s Christian Horner nicknamed it the ‘old Red Bull,’ while Mercedes have claimed the Aston Martin is half their design due to their parts-sharing agreement.

However, Aston Martin has firmly rebuffed these accusations.

“Red Bull said that the cars were the same, but they are very different. And also Toto said that the cars were the same: the Mercedes and the Aston because we share 50 percent of the car or something like that,” Alonso said.

“It seems that everyone is an Aston Martin now.”

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It’s entirely possible that buying parts from Mercedes has actually limited Aston Martin’s performance so far, giving them more drag than Red Bull.

The Mercedes gearbox is larger as it gets closer to the floor, hitting the airflow through the car’s diffuser, forcing Aston Martin to have a bigger rear wing.

Across both qualifying sessions, Alonso was half a second behind Red Bull in the straights and 10 km per hour slower in the Saudi Arabia speedtrap.