Aston Martin’s ‘advantage’ over Mercedes in race to succeed Red Bull

Aston Martin’s F1 car concept gives the team an “advantage” over Mercedes in the race to succeed Red Bull as world champions, according to David Croft. 
Aston Martin’s ‘advantage’ over Mercedes in race to succeed Red Bull

The Silverstone-based outfit emerged from the winter as the surprise package at the start of the 2023 F1 season and have been Red Bull’s closest challengers so far this year. 

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Fernando Alonso has scored five podiums in six races and claimed his best result at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix as he took second behind Max Verstappen

Sky Sports F1 commentator Croft believes Aston Martin are best-placed to win world championships after Red Bull thanks to their car concept and the team they have assembled. 

"I think where Aston have a slightly better advantage than Mercedes is the concept of car,” Croft said on the Sky Sports F1 podcast. 

“That is succeeding in this current iteration of Formula 1 and is not the Mercedes concept that gave them so much domination from 2014 to 2021, where, you know, Lewis lost the title, obviously, but Mercedes were still constructors champions. They've had to reinvent their wheel, so to speak.

"Aston Martin, with Dan Fallows leading them technically, Dan coming from Red Bull, he understands where Adrian Newey's inspiration and philosophy translates to a good car. So I think it's right time, right place, right man

“He understands where Adrian Newey's been getting it right. And I think also there's two other key members: there's Eric Blondin in aerodynamics, who's come from Mercedes, who Dan also worked with at Red Bull for a few years, and there's Luca Furbatto on the chassis side. And all three of them have formed a very good technical leadership with the new staff that have come in to drive this team forward.” 

Aston Martin’s ‘advantage’ over Mercedes in race to succeed Red Bull

Croft added: "The new factory is up and is operational. There'll be a wind tunnel to come as well. There'll be a conference centre eventually on that. There'll be an engine project with Honda. They'll be making their own gearboxes.

"They'll no longer be getting technical support from other people. They'll be doing it all themselves. And with that comes challenges, but with that comes a lot more advanced information as to where the mounting points for the engine are going to be on the chassis, for instance.

"They could be, and I think they will be, the next Red Bull in Formula 1 - they've got the vision, they've got the money, they've got the strategy, they've got the people.

"And as [former Jordan, Williams and Ferrari engineer] Rob Smedley said to me, and Rob knows a few things, other than Red Bull at the moment, who else is more committed to winning than Aston Martin?

"It's that commitment to win. You have to invest. And Mercedes have invested, Ferrari have invested, Aston Martin are investing.

"At this time in the present, they're the team going forwards.”

However, ex-F1 racer Juan Pablo Montoya cast doubt over whether Aston Martin will be able to sustain their momentum beyond this season. 

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 leads at the start of the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB19 leads at the start of the race…

"This year they came out with a great car. You got to give it to them, the car is unbelievable,” Montoya said. “It has really good speed, it drives really well, and I think Fernando's done a really good job of driving the whole team behind him. You got to give it to him.

"The big question mark is can they replicate and come up with something as competitive next year. If you're talking long-term it's, you know what I mean, you're not going to say what they did this year was a fluke.

"But you look at Mercedes with the people they have and everything, they came out this year worse again than last year. And you would have never thought after how much they dominated the sport before that they, I know they got it wrong last year, but come out this year with a worse car.

"It's like, how can they do that? So the chances of getting a car wrong - I think it's harder to get it right than wrong."

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