Aston Martin Technical Director Dan Fallows has confirmed that the side has brought aerodynamic upgrades to this weekend’s Dutch Grand Prix.
The Silverstone side began the year by establishing itself as the regular second force behind the dominant Red Bull team, with winter arrival Fernando Alonso scoring six podiums in the opening eight races.
However, Aston Martin has not featured in the top three since the Canadian Grand Prix in June, falling behind Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes in the pecking order.
Team Principal Mike Krack has attributed Aston Martin’s regression to “side effects” from the upgrades it bolted onto its AMR23 car earlier in the year.
But Fallows, who arrived in his current position from Red Bull midway through last year, has announced that the team has brought new parts to Zandvoort in a bid to regain its early-season competitiveness.
“Free Practice is essential to see how the tyres behave and degrade on long runs and on Qualifying runs,” he explained first.
“However, we have to balance our limited practice time between understanding the behaviour of the tyres and evaluating our upgrades – and we have aerodynamic upgrades to test at Zandvoort.
“To achieve this balance, we have a baseline practice programme that we run at every grand prix, which we adjust accordingly to allow sufficient time for aerodynamic tests.”
F1 has yet to encounter a race weekend without rain since May, and the chance of showers interrupting proceedings on Friday appears a possibility on the weather radar.
Fallows asserts that the proposition of wet weather arriving during practice would immediately dent Aston Martin’s ability to assess its new batch of updates.
“Rain during Free Practice will make our job harder, as we will have to make a call on whether our upgrades work based on less running,” he said.
“As much as we want to run as many laps as possible in the rain, we have to weigh up the risk of running in inclement weather with the return that we’ll get in data.
“We want to minimise the chance of damaging parts and if we believe the chance of an incident is too high, we’ll elect to keep our drivers in the garage.”
Nevertheless, Fallows believes Aston Martin now has a good handle on the weaknesses of its current package and says it remains in the process of solving them.
“We’ve been working tirelessly to develop our understanding of the AMR23,” he added.
“We believe we now have a good understanding of the car’s weaknesses and we’re taking steps to address them.
“We hope that the performance of the car at Zandvoort, with our latest updates, will confirm we are heading in the right direction and help Lance [Stroll] and Fernando fight for points this weekend.”
Aston Martin heads into the second half of the season third in the Constructors’ Championship on 196 points.
The British marque lies 51 points behind Mercedes while sitting only five points above Ferrari.