Last year's big winter movers say their latest car is a "strong evolution" and should provide a more consistent base for in-season development; Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll optimistic about 2024 prospects; watch all 24 races this season live on Sky Sports F1
Monday 12 February 2024 20:43, UK
Aston Martin have revealed their AMR24 car for the new Formula 1 season as they aim to another significant step forward and claim a first race win under the name of the British manufacturer.
Kicking off a big week of car launches in which last season's top five teams are revealing their latest contenders for the new season, Aston Martin's 2024 car - which is again bedecked in the famous racing green - is the first to be built at the team's all-new Silverstone factory, which opened last summer.
Describing the AMR24 as a "strong evolution" of its 2023 car, which propelled the team up the order in stunning style at the start of last season as Fernando Alonso delivered a string of early-season podium finishes before rivals overtook them in the development race, Aston Martin are optimistic they have identified and addressed last year's weaker points.
"We have tried to focus on all areas of our predecessor, the AMR23, which had a great season full of positives last year," said team boss Mike Krack.
"But then we have not left any stone untuned. We have really tried to look at every area, be it the car, the operations, the reliability to make a step forward in all the directions.
"So it has been very intense over the couple of months since we finished the season and we hope we have done enough. We are sure we will have a strong contender."
Krack, starting his third year as team principal, added: "2023 was our best season to date and our goal this season is to score regular points, podiums, and fight for our first win in green."
Alonso starts his second season at the team next to Lance Stroll and said he felt "confident" they were heading in to the new campaign in strong shape.
"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 and then if we are in that position it would be lovely to achieve the first victory in green for Aston Martin and, hopefully, I can be behind the wheel [in] that moment," said Alonso, who last won a race in 2013.
"But we have to go step by step, it's going to be very tight. There are four or five teams who will be within two or three tenths of a second this year I bet so that will put you within two tenths of a second of fighting for podiums or fighting out of the top 10, so we need to be really focused on that."
Aston Martin are shaking down the AMR24 on track at Silverstone on Monday.
Pre-season testing in Bahrain runs from February 21-23 ahead of the season's opening Grand Prix at the same venue on February 29-March 2, all live on Sky Sports F1.
The team say their latest challenger is a "lighter, more aerodynamically efficient race car, designed to operate across a wider range of circuits" with few carry-over parts from the largely-successful AMR23.
Technical director Dan Fallows said: "The obvious things that you will see that are different are the nose and the front wing. The bodywork will be different.
"There's also obviously a lot of stuff under the hood that hopefully you won't see! But we will try to keep some of that under wraps."
Straight-line performance was one clear area of weakness in 2024 but Fallows expressed confidence that "that is something we have managed to achieve to make a step on that".
Aston Martin held third place in the Constructors' Championship at last season's halfway mark behind Mercedes and dominant Red Bull but slipped to fifth at the finish behind Ferrari and McLaren too.
"We have managed to make a step on last year's car and we are very pleased with what we have been able to achieve," added Fallows. "But really it's a first step in this season.
"We want to make sure we have got a good platform for development and that's what we have really been focusing on and I think we have managed to achieve that.
"We have seen particularly last season, but also the season before, the in-season development race is absolutely fierce and we want to be as competitive in that as we have been going in to the new seasons. So that's what we have really been focused on, to make sure that we have got a good stable basis for us to go and develop the car and keep those updates coming and keep the performance coming."
And although Fallows accepts that all teams are now in the law of ever-diminishing returns coming into the third year of the current technical regulation era, he believes there is still "lots of lap time to come" and that chasing down world champions Red Bull - the winners of 21 of last season's 22 races - is a logical target.
"We are really into finding lap times now which are things that are smaller details, they are more detailed elements of the floor and other parts of the car. But there's still a lot of lap time to come," he added.
"We take the approach that Red Bull are absolutely beatable, that's what we are chasing after, we are focusing on them and that's what we are aiming for."
Alonso added: "I think we had a good step forward this winter.
"Maybe not as big as last year because last year the baseline was very poor [from 2022] and this year the baseline was very strong already from last year, which is understandable.
"My only fact that I know is that it's going to be very tight so even if we make a reasonable and very good step forward we know that the other teams over the winter do a good step forward [too]."
|2023 championship finish
|Best championship finish
Aston Martin's spectacular start to the season was Formula 1's feel-good story of 2023, but they couldn't quite get over the hump of delivering an elusive 33rd race victory for Alonso.
While being Red Bull's nearest challenger in the early stages of the season was undoubtedly an overachievement, there will have been disappointment at the failure to take full advantage of a strong starting point.
Aston Martin were leapfrogged by Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren during the campaign, leaving in-season development as a clear area where improvement is required for the future.
At the age of 42, Alonso is still operating at a remarkably high level and his vast experience should help the team on its intended path to the top of the sport.
Nothing less than that will satisfy owner Lawrence Stroll, who continues to spare no expense as he chases glory. It may be a little soon for the team's July 2023 move into their new Silverstone factory to bear fruit, but the planned opening of its wind tunnel later this year serves as a reminder of the ambitious nature of the project.
Another weakness for Aston Martin last year were the performances of Stroll, who was rarely able to compete with Alonso. It remains to be seen whether the owner's son possesses the ability to help drag the team forward, and he goes into the season with plenty to prove.
"We all want to push on from what we achieved last year, especially in the final part of the season when we made some strong progress - learning more about the car," said Stroll.
"I think that sets us up nicely for the new season and I can't wait to get going."
Pre-season testing takes place from Wednesday February 21 to Friday February 23 at the Bahrain International Circuit with just three days for the teams to get prepared for the new season.
Just one week later, the opening race of the 2024 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2.
Due to the Muslim holy period of Ramadan, the Bahrain and, seven days later, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, will be held on a Saturday.
This means practice one and two will take place on Thursdays, with final practice and qualifying on Fridays.
24 races in 2024! Watch every round of next season live on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership