Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has acknowledged that it was always going to be difficult to find performance straight away in what was effectively a brand-new car at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Controversy reigned ahead of the weekend when the Silverstone side rocked up to Barcelona with sidepods and venturi tunnels that looked uncannily similar to Red Bull, whose adviser Dr Helmut Marko has even said there is “evidence” of data theft.
Vettel warned before practice that performance gains would not immediately be found, and that it was important for the team to get to know their AMR22-B, and he certainly was not wrong as both he and team-mate Lance Stroll were eliminated in the first qualifying phase on Saturday.
However, the 34-year-old is still full of belief that their new philosophy is the way forward.
“If you look at the table it is not that different but we knew it was not going to be a massive step in performance straight away,” he said.
“But we believe in the concept and we are confident there is more to come. It is very early, it is basically a new car that we ran.”
Vettel revealed that he was struggling with the balance of the newly designed Aston Martin, which ultimately hindered his performance.
“It is different, we are still figuring it out but I thought I had a good feeling and in quali, I was slowed down by the poor car balance and struggling to get a feel for the rear or the trust in the rear,” he added
“The car was moving too much and I couldn’t trust the rear how I did in practice.”
Despite the optimism of long-term gains, the four-time world champion is naturally disappointed to find himself starting down in 16th.
“It was obviously a very short session for us, we only had two laps so it is a bit disappointing because I thought today we could do better,” explained Vettel.
“It wasn’t the case and we need to look forward to tomorrow. We had good sessions up to qualifying. In quali, I had lots of oversteer and struggled with balance and couldn’t carry the speeds I wanted to or was planning to.
“We will have a look but it is obviously a shame now to start further back.”
As for the controversy surrounding the new sidepods, the FIA have cleared Aston Martin of any wrongdoing after they affirmed they had started work on the new spec in November.