Williams: Progress of Aston Martin over the winter ”definitely” an inspiration

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The 2023 season kicked off in Bahrain last weekend with Max Verstappen leading home a dominant 1-2 for Red Bull Racing. The main story to come out of the weekend was the massive progress Aston Martin made over the winter, however.

A disappointing 2022 saw the Silverstone-based team finish a lowly P7 in the Constructors’ Championship. A major upgrade of the car at the Spanish Grand Prix saved them from a potentially even worse season.

On his debut for the team, Fernando Alonso qualified P5, beating both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in the process. The Spaniard’s Q3 time was a whopping 2.441s faster than the team’s best qualifying lap in Bahrain the year before.

Alonso would go on to convert that brilliant qualifying with a superb P3 finish. His teammate Lance Stroll put in a heroic performance to back that up and saw the chequered flag in P6. It sees Aston Martin sit P2 in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of next weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Behind Aston Martin, it was Williams who made the biggest improvement with regard to qualifying in Bahrain from 2022 to 2023. Alex Albon improved on his own time from last year by 1.203s as the team has delivered a clear step forward. The Thai went on to score a point last Sunday, with teammate and F1 debutant Logan Sargeant finishing a solid P12.

Team bosses and members have spoken about in the past that it can take years for a team to take the steps required to challenge the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, but Aston Martin have managed to do that rather quickly.

Asked about the massive leap made by Aston Martin, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson admitted the gains they made are impressive.

”It is impressive and visibly on what you can see on the car they have taken some fairly big steps,” stated Robson. ”But presumably that in itself is founded on a lot of good work in the tunnel and CFD and presumably just means that they have all those foundations we’re talking about already in place.”

Robson believes the big test of Aston Martin versus ‘the big three’ will come as the season progresses. In-season development is always important and it is sure to be an area where Ferrari and Mercedes will try to get the better of the Silverstone squad.

It’s one thing starting the season with a quick car, but it’s quite another particularly in the cost cap world to keep up with the big boys who are maybe used to being quite efficient

Is the jump Aston Martin made inspirational and good motivation for Williams? ”Yeah, definitely,” concluded Robson.

Photos: Williams Racing