The Formula 1 circus turns to Europe following a three-week hiatus. Aston Martin drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel expressed their views on the Imola Grand Prix weekend. The German had a disastrous debut with the team in Bahrain, while Lance Stroll finished in P10. Aston Martin will look to bounce back at the next race at the iconic Italian track.
The team's long wheelbase and low-rake design have posed challenges to their engineers. The car has lost a lot of downforce since last year. The team is expected to bring aerodynamic and chassis upgrades to adapt to the high downforce circuit at Imola.
Can Aston Martin bounce back?
Looking ahead to the second round of the Formula 1 season, Sebastian Vettel said:
“I’m excited to get going this weekend. It’s been good to have that little bit of an extra gap between these first two races – this year’s calendar won’t always be so forgiving – but that just gave us an extra opportunity to look at the data and understand where we need to improve the AMR21.”
The German also spoke about the track's characteristics:
“As a track, Imola is a very different challenge to Bahrain: it’s a track that you can really attack, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Vettel’s first outing with Aston Martin might have been an undesirable one, but circuits like Imola are where his years of experience will come into play. Early criticism of his debut weekend won’t hold the four-time world champion back from mastering his new tools.
Aston Martin's Canadian driver Lance Stroll scored the team its maiden point at Bahrain. Speaking about the Imola Grand Prix, the 22-year-old said:
“Imola was such a great challenge last year. It’s an incredibly fast circuit with so little run-off – the balance between risk and reward is immense, so it’s incredibly satisfying when you get it right.”
Lance Stroll also spoke about the team's competitors in the midfield:
“We’ve seen that there’s a bunch of teams that are all extremely closely matched – so getting out of the blocks cleanly and running smoothly in every session will be vital if we want to make a difference.”
Ideally, it will take Aston Martin a few races to bounce back from the loss in performance. Otmar Szafnauer believes the British team have been hit the hardest by the 2021 regulations. There were also major reliability concerns during the pre-season test.
Aston Martin's recent signee Nico Hulkenberg, who will be the reserve and development driver, could play a big role in resolving the issues with the AMR21. He will also give Vettel and Stroll a chance to settle into the 2021 season.