Aston Martin F1 CEO Otmar Szafnauer has admitted the changes to the 2021 aerodynamic regulations have hurt his team’s car more than others after a disappointing performance in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Aston Martin picked up a solitary point in the first race of the season thanks to Lance Stroll’s tenth-place in Bahrain.

The Silverstone-based outfit ended last season with arguably the third-fastest car, with Sergio Perez on course to take a podium at the very same circuit before suffering an engine failure in the closing laps.

As part of the new 2021 regulations, teams have been forced to redesign the rear floor and diffuser - a move from F1 to slow the cars down on safety grounds.

The changes to the floor design appear to have hit cars that have a low-rake concept - Mercedes and Aston Martin - the hardest, while high-rake cars such as Red Bull and AlphaTauri seem to have benefitted from the rule change.

Reflecting on Aston Martin’s performance in Bahrain, Szafnauer conceded it was a “rude awakening” for the team.

“I think the rude awakening happened in qualifying when we realised after analysing the data that the low-rake cars were hampered significantly more by the regulation change, the aero reg changes, so we expected a tough race, but there’s some positives to take out of it,” Szafnauer said.

“On the soft and medium tyre we looked pretty competitive in the midfield, overtook some of our competitors, catching some of the others. We struggled a bit on the hard tyre at the end and we’ve got to understand that. 

“In race conditions we’re a bit more competitive than we were on one lap but compared to where we were just a few months ago here, before the regulation change, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Due to a token system being used in 2021 which limits chassis upgrades, and the suspension being homologated, Aston Martin is unable to change the rake level of its car.

“It’s unfortunately worse than that, the first time ever that I can remember in my 24 years of the sport where we’ve had to homologate the suspension due to the covid regulations if you remember,” Szafnauer added.

“You can only change it if you actually used your tokens on suspension, so even if we wanted to run 150mm rear ride height we can’t.”