Newey: Never experienced same level of F1 consistency as Red Bull in 2023

Newey, whose top-flight tenure started with a stint at Lola in 1986, has designed grand prix cars that have so far won 12 constructors’ titles and 12 drivers’ crowns for three teams.

Notably, Williams scored 10 wins – including six 1-2s – from 16 GPs in 1992 and 12 victories in 1996.

After moving to Red Bull as chief technical officer in 2006, Newey oversaw machines that won 12 races in 2011 and clocked 13 triumphs in 2013 as the calendar grew to 19 rounds.

But speaking on F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast, Newey reckons the consistency achieved by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez aboard the RB19 this season still stands proud.

Newey, whose episode was recorded in Singapore when the Red Bull count was 14 wins, said: “This has been our biggest run of success that I’ve certainly ever experienced.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved in cars that have been dominant in the past, but we’ve never had this level of consistency.

“People might think it now that everything is kind of guaranteed and it’ll be smooth. The reality is, so many things can go wrong in a race.

“Actually getting two cars to the finish, preferably both of them near the front week after week, it’s a difficult challenge because of all the elements that can go wrong: reliability, accidents, strategy, performance obviously.

“So, to achieve this, I think, is a real tribute to everybody.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, 1st position, takes the chequered flag

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, 1st position, takes the chequered flag

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Critical to the success of the RB19 has been its wide operating window that enables the car to adapt to a variety of circuits.

This compares to the sensitive Mercedes ‘zeropod’ architecture that debuted with the W13 in 2022, a design guided by the peak downforce numbers the team could simulate.

Despite the heavily contrasting concept from a team that had just won eight constructors’ titles in succession, Newey said he had a ‘gut instinct’ not to consume restrictions under the FIA cost cap to study the Mercedes solution and compare it to the one devised by Red Bull.

He said: “Even with all the tools we have now, there still has to be a degree of gut [instinct].

“The reality is, even before the cost cap, we were still resource and people limited.

“We have never had the capacity to research endless different paths in great detail.

“If you take a recent example, obviously with last year’s car we took an aerodynamic direction with the sidepod and design and the concept of the car, which was almost polar opposite to what Mercedes did.

“Mercedes showed flashes of competitiveness last year. They obviously won in Brazil.

“Then you’re faced with a choice of ‘Do we start to research Mercedes in case we’ve missed something or do we stick with what we’re doing?’ Gut feeling was stick with what we’re doing.”

McLaren: No shortcut for Piastri in understanding F1 tyre deg challenge

Piastri secured the first podium of his F1 career with third at last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, joining team-mate Lando Norris on the rostrum, but admitted after the race that it was not his finest performance. 

Reflecting on why he felt that way, the Australian rookie explained that, on a day when there was a need to heavily manage the tyres, he did not think he had done a good enough job. 

“I just wasn’t quick enough at certain points of the race, I think,” Piastri said.

”These high-deg races are probably the biggest thing I need to try and work on at the moment. I think it’s still quite fresh for me, obviously.  

“In all the junior racing before this there are no races like this. So, the only way you can learn from it is by just doing the races.” 

McLaren team boss Andrea Stella agreed that being able to master handling tyre degradation in F1 was very much about learning on the job, as there was no other way that drivers could experience the nuances and techniques required. 

“I think when it comes to race pace, it’s not like you learn race pace, and it is a set of skills that then you deploy for every race,” he said. 

“Race pace in a race like [Japan] with high degradation, the car bouncing a little bit in some places, with high speed, low speed management, is applicable to today. But this doesn’t mean that it was the same in Hungary, or it was the same somewhere else.  

Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, celebrate after the race

Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, celebrate after the race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

“So, I think that’s why it’s a bit of a journey. And it takes time, because every situation presents its own characteristics.  

“I’m sure Oscar will have learned things, and actually, I think towards the end, it was already better than it was in the second stint. So, it’s just a systematic work of cashing in all the possible learning.”

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Stella said there was no need for alarm about the fact that Piastri still needed to learn some more, especially as the 2021 Formula 2 champion’s outright speed was obvious.

“There is not a one-off learning that is applicable to every situation,” he added.

“But the first thing I will take is always the outright speed, which is what we have seen. 

“Because when you have that, race pace and all these things are much easier to work on. Finding the edge on a single lap in Suzuka, like we saw [in qualifying], that’s more difficult.” 

Horner: Red Bull must try to keep “riding the wave” of 2023 F1 success

Red Bull clinched its sixth constructors’ title with six races to spare in Japan, which is another entry for the Milton Keynes squad into the series’ record book that it has been steadily rewriting this year.

Team principal Horner conceded that losing its streak of consecutive race wins in Singapore was inevitable.

And while the carrot of an invincible season is no longer dangling in front of his team, Horner says it must continue “pushing the boundaries” as its current success will be hard to replicate.

“I think a repeated season like this is, you know, it’s a golden moment for the team,” he said.

“To do better than we’re doing I think it’s impossible. So, I think we’re riding a wave and of course we want to try and ride that wave as long as we can.

“But Formula 1 is a fast-moving business. You see how quickly teams move up, move down and Singapore if nothing else demonstrates that there can be zero complacency, that we have to keep pushing the boundaries.”

Horner also paid tribute to the crew members that produced such a dominant RB19, which displayed almost no weaknesses and in the hands of series dominator Max Verstappen sat at the top of the pile across all speed ranges.

“Last year was a very strong year for us,” he added.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“But to have kept that momentum, rolling with the challenges that we’ve had is testimony to all the men and women in the team that have worked tirelessly to produce a car as competitive as we’ve had, that the drivers and particularly Max has been able to make such good use of.”

Horner admits Red Bull’s results were helped by rival teams being inconsistent as the status of second-fastest team constantly appears to change hands.

Instead, Red Bull remained a consistent factor despite its success handicap from F1’s aerodynamic testing restrictions and its penalty for exceeding the 2021 budget cap, which prompted the outfit to be more efficient in its development.

“The field has been moving around behind us. One week it’s McLaren, next week it’s Ferrari, the next week it’s Mercedes,” he added.

“We’ve been 90% consistent at the front of the field and we’ve been fairly limited in the amount of development that we’ve done on the car.

“The regulations are stable, so we have the same gearbox on the car, we have the same chassis largely as last year so an awful lot of is carried over.

“The team has done a great job in efficiently developing the car and reducing the weight, and to maintain this kind of performance across the variance of circuits that we’ve had.”

Aston Martin: 2026 gearbox “a golden opportunity” for F1 to cut costs

After using customer units from McLaren and latterly Mercedes since its early Force India days in 2009, the Silverstone outfit is currently ramping its own transmission department ahead of 2026, when its new relationship with Honda obliges the team to create a bespoke gearbox.

Inevitably, that push has focused Aston’s attention on the costs associated with designing and producing gearboxes, and the team is convinced that common parts would be an easy way for all competitors to save money.

A move to have standard gearbox cassettes for the current regulations was touted by the FIA and rejected by the teams in 2019, and so far there has been limited appetite for taking a similar direction for 2026.

“We’re pushing for a standardised gearbox because it makes financial sense in a cost cap environment,” Farbatto said an interview on the team’s website.

“But we are facing stiff opposition. Realistically it’s not going to happen any time soon. It’s possible the FIA may reach something of a middle ground, with the design becoming a little more prescribed, lighter and simplified.

“I suspect we will look back in a few years and conclude that we lost a golden opportunity to reduce costs within the transmission area.

“It is something that the fans cannot see, the technology is the same between all teams and brings very little performance.

“The money saved on transmission could be repurposed towards aero development, which is currently the only way to compress the grid and improve the show.”

Lance Stroll, Luca Furbatto, Aston Martin

Lance Stroll, Luca Furbatto, Aston Martin

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Furbatto said that Aston’s transmission department is already being ramped up, in conjunction with third party suppliers.

“The last time this team made its own gearbox was 2008 and things have moved on a bit since then!,” he said.

“We are recruiting and building our competencies in this area – and we’ve already brought in a number of very talented designers.

“The group working on this project is still very much growing, but the work being done with a mix of internal resources and external contractors is moving forward quickly.

“2026 might seem like a long way in the future, but in engineering terms, it’s really just around the corner.”

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Regarding the team’s new campus he said: “As the regulations currently stand, teams will have to develop a car that is very aero efficient to compensate for the new power unit.

“It’s a challenge, but every team is in the same situation. It’s up to us to do a better job than the others.

“It’s a big part of everything we hope to achieve. When I joined the team the new campus didn’t even exist, so I’ve been able to have an input into shaping our future facilities. I recall when we were looking at the layout of the R&D testing areas and various rigs.

“We spent a lot of our time looking at the building layout, the equipment specifications in great detail, and even the type of foundations. The first phase of the new campus is complete and it’s an incredible place to work and there is more to come.

“I believe we’ll start to see the full potential of the new campus by the beginning of 2025.

“We’ll have our new gearbox dynos fully operational, and the new wind tunnel will be ready in the second half of next year. All in all, it’ll be a game-changer.”

Albon: AlphaTauri’s current F1 form “worrying” for Williams

After a strong run of points finishes for Albon, Williams is currently in a solid seventh in the championship on 21 points, ahead of Haas on 12, Alfa Romeo on 10, and AlphaTauri on five.

However, while Williams has no new parts coming through the system for the FW45 as it focuses on its 2024 car, its rivals have continued to bring updates, with AlphaTauri introducing a new package in Singapore and Haas scheduling a major change for Austin.

The AlphaTauri updates had an instant impact at the Marina Bay street track, where Yuki Tsunoda topped Q1 before losing out in a scrappy Q2, and Liam Lawson made Q3 in 10th.

In the race, the latter scored his first points in ninth after his team-mate retired on the first lap.

At Suzuka, which the Faenza team regarded a more representative test of the new parts, Tsunoda and Lawson qualified ninth and 11th respectively.

In the race the team failed to score after Tsunoda slipped out of the top 10, much to the Japanese driver’s frustration, but Albon says that AlphaTauri’s potential is clear.

“I think they boxed themselves, I was really surprised by their tyre choice,” he said of AlphaTauri’s race.

“They gave themselves only one medium, one hard, and I think Yuki didn’t even have a new soft. So they were in a tricky spot the whole race, and probably gave up a bit too much for Saturday, instead of Sunday.

“But the thing is, we rest assured this weekend, but they were quick in Singapore. And they’re going to be quick again in every circuit. I think their step has been quite significant, and a little bit worrying.”

Alex Albon, Williams Racing, on the grid

Alex Albon, Williams Racing, on the grid

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Williams’ director of performance Dave Robson agreed that AlphaTauri is now a threat to his team’s ability to regularly make the top 10.

“I think Vegas will be interesting, because it’s new and it’s Vegas,” he said when asked about the FW45’s potential for the rest of the year.

“I think that might suit the car reasonably well. But that said, it is such a big unknown. And what will the tarmac surface be like? I’m quite looking forward to going back to Qatar actually, to see how we get on there.

“But I think they’re all going to be reasonably difficult now with the AlphaTauri the way it is. It’s going to be tough to score too many more points.”

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Tsunoda conceded that AlphaTauri had got its strategy wrong in Suzuka. 

Asked if the team had underperformed thus far with its revised car, he said: “I would say we are making most of it. I mean, at least my side.

“Obviously we didn’t expect this much degradation in the race, but other teams had hard tyres, we did not. So some things to look out for the future.”

Additional reporting by Filip Cleeren

Friday favourite: The future TV pundits who ganged up on their F1 team boss

It speaks volumes for the premium Christian Danner puts on honesty that the drivers he immediately considers for his favourite team-mate both were willing to go beyond the racing norm of looking after number one.

Just as Alfa Romeo colleague Giancarlo Fisichella didn’t shy away from revealing to Danner the differences between the engines in their 155 V6 GTIs, which explained his deficit at the 1996 Silverstone International Touring Car Championship round, so Danner settles on Martin Brundle after pairing up at Zakspeed during the 1987 Formula 1 season.

“He was quick, he was straight, he was uncomplicated, and he was honest which is a very uncommon attitude as far as team-mates are concerned,” relates the inaugural Formula 3000 champion of 1985.

Brundle had joined the ambitious German outfit after three years at Tyrrell, having emerged as a regular points scorer with Renault turbo power in 1986. Befitting his experience, the Briton had negotiated number one status.

Danner, known to Zakspeed after making two appearances during a busy 1985 in which he raced sportscars and touring cars in addition to his main F3000 programme, signed a contract guaranteeing equal status. But at a small team that Danner’s engineer Chris Murphy estimates was operating on half of the leading teams’ budgets, this was always going to be difficult to realise.

“That of course in reality doesn’t work out in a small team because there is always a lack of parts, development parts in particular,” affirms Danner, who had scored the only point for an Arrows driver in 1986 up against the highly-rated Thierry Boutsen. This led to a frank conversation with Brundle over a beer about which of the pair would end up with a new rear suspension.

“I said, ‘well, if you have it, I have it because I’m on even status’, then Martin said, ‘I’m number one, I get everything’ and we were kind of laughing about it,” the 65-year-old remembers. “Usually people can take whatever they can get and screw the team-mate, but he wasn’t like that at all. We then decided to give Erich Zakowski a hard time, insisting on our rights which was he wanted the rear suspension because he’s number one and I wanted the rear suspension because I’m at equal terms!

Brundle and Danner made for the ideal pairing at minnows Zakspeed

Brundle and Danner made for the ideal pairing at minnows Zakspeed

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“We both knew there is only one such thing around. However, we agreed who is going to have which part before we gave Erich a hard time, so there was never a problem between him and I. We basically united against the team principal, which was very funny.”

That Brundle was the number one was rammed home at Estoril, where both cars were irretrievably damaged in an opening-lap pileup triggered by Nelson Piquet and Michele Alboreto. The spare was given to Brundle, while Danner was rendered a spectator. It made little difference though, as gearbox failure soon put Brundle out.

It was a fitting microcosm for their year, as the duo spent much of their season behind the barriers due to repeated reliability problems with the 871 chassis, powered by a four-cylinder engine designed in-house by future Toyota F1 man Norbert Kreyer. Murphy recalls that the 1.5-litre turbo had more power than Zakspeed’s 1,000 horsepower dyno could measure, so “we didn’t know exactly what we had”. What they did often have was smoke trailing from behind the red and white machines.

“I had so many P7s or P8 or P9 in that year, or things like that. Whenever you finish and you finish in the top 10, nowadays you’re an absolute hero. In these days you were a plonker!” Christian Danner

Zakspeed made more of its car than any other constructor barring Ferrari, including its own gearbox and radiators, but lacked the funds to properly finetune its bulky package that had been partially constructed by woodworkers from the factory next door – following a Murphy-led crash course in carbon fibre. It was 10th of 15 full-time entrants on the basis of supertimes, 6.688% slower than the pace-setting Williams-Honda FW11B, and never higher on the grid than the 13th achieved by Brundle in Mexico.

The relentless reliability woes were discouraging, but both drivers plugged away even for limited reward. Only once all season would both cars see the finish, at Imola, where Brundle scored what would turn out to be the only points of Zakspeed’s F1 tenure with fifth. Still running a 1986 chassis, Danner was just outside the points in seventh. It was one of six occasions that year he finished inside the top 10, but none counted for points.

“I had so many P7s or P8 or P9 in that year, or things like that,” laments Danner. “Whenever you finish and you finish in the top 10, nowadays you’re an absolute hero. In these days you were a plonker!”

Brundle had the speed over Danner throughout their time as team-mates

Brundle had the speed over Danner throughout their time as team-mates

Photo by: LAT Photographic

Brundle had the better of Danner in qualifying 13-3, although on six occasions Brundle was only one place higher. It’s to the lofty German’s credit that he makes no mention of his height being a contributing factor. Much like Alex Wurz in the 1990s and Justin Wilson in the 2000s, Danner was at the taller end of the spectrum at north of six foot and for reasons of physics ceded lap time to Brundle’s 5’7 frame.

“Martin was quick, there was no doubt about it,” says Danner, harshly banned from the Monaco weekend after a practice clash with Alboreto in which most observers attributed at least equal blame. “You had to give what you had to come to the same level and that always helps because any team-mate who is slow is no help. You need someone to push you. I always got on with the fastest people the best.”

Both Brundle and Danner made the wise decision to depart Zakspeed at season’s end. New arrivals Bernd Schneider and Piercarlo Ghinzani failed to qualify more races than they started in 1988. But Danner wasn’t on the F1 grid that year after two drives fell through.

First Gerard Larrousse u-turned on hiring him, instead picking Yannick Dalmas to drive his Lola, while a contract with Ligier was torn up when Michel Tetu stated that Danner wouldn’t fit his JS31 design. Stefan Johansson got the drive instead, but it was no great loss to Danner.

“It had a substantial problem called lack of structural integrity which was the reason the car was a heap of shit,” he chuckles. “Stefan is still angry with me that I’m so tall, he didn’t like it at all! However, in that Lola I would have been hot because that was a very good car, a very simple car. That car would have suited me extremely well.”

He spent a year in the DTM before returning to F1 with Rial in 1989, remarkably finishing fourth at Phoenix on a rare occasion he made the grid in an ARC2 chassis that was delaminating. Famously irascible team boss Gunther Schmidt refused to heed Danner’s feedback and a series of seven consecutive DNQs proved the end of his F1 driving career – although Schmidt apologised years later and even offered to sponsor Danner’s Project Indy Reynard at Miami in 1995 by way of recompense!

The pair's paths crossed again as TV pundits in F1

The pair’s paths crossed again as TV pundits in F1

Photo by: James Moy

While Brundle went on to score nine F1 podiums driving for Benetton, Ligier and McLaren, Danner has no regrets that his career didn’t follow the same path.

“All my retrospect is positive,” he says. “Yes, there was quite a lot of occasions where it should have been more successful, but I’m not bitter. I’m alive in the first place and I’m healthy. It was a wonderful time and I’m in one piece, so no reason to complain.”

“When I did all the races, I did exactly the same job as he did. We did run into each other, it was easy to communicate and very funny to just have a laugh. Formula 1 is an environment which gives you plenty of opportunity to pull someone’s leg” Christian Danner

But 1987 wasn’t to be the only time Danner and Brundle came into close contact. In their respective roles as expert pundits for television networks – Danner for RTL, Brundle for ITV, BBC and Sky – they were regularly rubbing shoulders for several years afterwards.

“When I did all the races, I did exactly the same job as he did,” he says. “We did run into each other, it was easy to communicate and very funny to just have a laugh. Formula 1 is an environment which gives you plenty of opportunity to pull someone’s leg. It’s a pleasure to have a chat with the insiders and Martin is clearly one of them.”

Brundle and Danner have remained good friends long after their time as team-mates

Brundle and Danner have remained good friends long after their time as team-mates

Photo by: James Moy

McLaren forging closer ties with Toyota as F1 rumours swirl

The Woking-based outfit recently ended a long-running deal it had to use Toyota’s wind tunnel in Cologne, as it shifted its programme to its own new facility in Woking. 

But rather than it being the end of their association, it appears that the McLaren and Toyota partnership is actually evolving and getting closer. 

Evidence of that came ahead of last weekend’s Japanese GP when McLaren announced that Toyota factory driver Ryo Hirakawa had been signed up to its roster of reserve drivers for 2024.  

As part of the deal, the Japanese would also join McLaren’s simulator programme and conduct some tests in its 2021 car. 

Hirakawa’s deal seemed to be a leftfield choice as he had never previously been on the radar for F1 teams, but it has clearly come amid a push by Toyota to get some stronger links with grand prix racing. 

The presence of Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda with McLaren at last weekend’s Japanese GP, as part of a delegation from the Japanese manufacturer, also further fuelled the idea of a growing interest in F1. 

PLUS: Inside Toyota’s alternative path to the future of motorsport

It even prompted rumours that McLaren could have Toyota on the radar as a potential future engine partner should it elect to return to F1 at some point – having been absent since its withdrawal at the end of 2009. 

Asked by Autosport to explain the background to the Hirakawa appointment, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella revealed that it was part of a bigger picture agreement with Toyota. 

“There was the element of, having started a driver development programme, there’s quite a lot of people knocking on the door,” said Stella. 

Toyota has been absent from Formula 1 since 2009

Toyota has been absent from Formula 1 since 2009

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“We actively chase talents, but we also have interest from other talents to join the programme, which is good. It shows that we have credibility from this point of view.  

“So, we are certainly excited that Ryo and Toyota wanted to join the team in terms of the driver development programme.  

“Then we took advantage to say well, let’s add him to the pool of reserve drivers. And this is not only for the driver himself. 

“We are also interested in a bit of exchange of how we deal with performance, how we deal with driver development. So, we want to sort of expand a bit our horizons.” 

While the potential is there for closer ties to be forged over the next few years, suggestions that Toyota definitely wants to return to F1 appear to be premature for now.

Speaking at the Japanese GP, Toyota Gazoo Racing advisor Kazuki Nakajima said that the Hirakawa deal was not a first step towards a grand prix racing comeback, but he left the door open on things changing over the next few years. 

“For now, it’s clearly no,” he said when asked by Autosport about Toyota’s interest in F1. “This deal is really purely focusing on a driver, supporting a driver’s dream. 

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“At the moment, it really has nothing to do with that. I know, of course, you can think about it, and there are a lot of rumours.  

“But I can clearly say that it’s no, and nothing to do with it. For the future, we never know.” 

The new F1 floor that helped Ferrari beat Mercedes in Japan

The aim of the update was to reduce some of the losses being generated along the floor’s length, which in-turn will have helped result in an uptick in performance too. 

The changes started at the front of the floor assembly, with the fences being slightly modified to ensure a better localised flow, whilst also improving quality downstream.  

Ferrari SF-23 side detail
Ferrari SF-23 technical detail

The shape of the fences and how they are buttressed to the leading edge of the floor have been altered. This will help alter the airflow’s relationship with the floor’s ceiling. 

The floor’s edge has been redesigned where it tapers towards the rear tyre, with the upward sloping surface now more deliberately arched downward before creating a lip on the floor’s boundary. 

Meanwhile, the diffuser’s sidewall, an area where Ferrari has already focused some of its resources, has also undergone changes to benefit from those alterations made upstream. 

Red Bull Racing RB19 new floor comparison

Red Bull Racing RB19 new floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari was not alone in running a new floor, as Red Bull brought the update that it abandoned in Singapore as a consequence of the set-up confusion that hampered its race weekend there. 

The changes with the new floor do not really cover any new ground. Instead, the details already found on the floor’s edge are simply exaggerated to provide an incremental performance boost. 

The edge wing, which has featured the raised C-shaped profile in the forward section all season, has seen its size swollen when compared with the previous layout.  

Meanwhile, the twisted scroll-like section thereafter now has additional camber. And where one strake was previously employed to coerce the airflow, there are now two. 

Mercedes F1 W14 rear wing detail

Mercedes F1 W14 rear wing detail

Photo by: Uncredited

Mercedes also joined the growing contingent of teams to employ a distinctive swage line in the lower half of their rear wing endplate.  

First seen on the Aston Martin AMR23 at the start of the season, Alpine quickly followed suit, with McLaren, AlphaTauri and Williams all adding their own variant during the course of the season (see below). 

The contour created in the rear wing endplates surface will have localised benefits, but also offers aerodynamic support to the surrounding elements and the flow structures they generate.  

Aston Martin AMR23 rear wing end plate detail

Aston Martin AMR23 rear wing end plate detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Alpine A523 rear wing side

Alpine A523 rear wing side

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL60 rear wing detail

McLaren MCL60 rear wing detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Williams FW45 rear wing endplate upwash strike

Williams FW45 rear wing endplate upwash strike

Photo by: Uncredited

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

AlphaTauri AT04 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Aston Martin posts $53m loss for 2022 F1 season

The team made a bigger loss despite upping its turnover from sponsorship and prize money by over $32m, with the numbers reflecting an overall increase in costs in the first year of the new regulations.

Following a reorganisation, the team now operates under the banner of AMR GP Limited, which is a subsidiary of AMR GP Holdings Limited, although the headline numbers across the two entities are in effect the same.

Figures released to the public domain this week show that AMR GP generated turnover in 2022 of $188,728,000, up from $150,438,000 in 2021.

The overall cost of sales, a measure of what the team actually spent to go racing, rose to $152,046,00 from $107,735,000.

With administrative expenses and other income such as government grants taken into account, that resulted in a loss for 2022 of $52,915,000, compared with $43,332,000 in 2021.

Overall staff costs for the group were listed as $54,983,000, an increase of around 10% on the previous year.

Aston Martin logo on the nose

Aston Martin logo on the nose

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

The group declared an overall headcount of 504, with 81 people in administration and 423 employed in “design, production and technical,” up from 401 in 2021, reflecting the team’s ongoing expansion.

In a reference to the substantial investment in the new facilities at Silverstone, the company noted that “as of December 31 2021 the group was committed to capital expenditure of $64,985,490 relating to the development of the Aston Martin F1 Campus.”

The marketing contribution to the F1 team from the Aston Martin Lagonda road car company for 2022 is listed as £19,208,000, which was down by £844,000 on the previous year.

One intriguing detail is that in 2022 the team paid Falcon Racing Services Inc $1,835,000 for the provision of the racing services of Lance Stroll, an amount that was actually $225,000 less than in 2021. Falcon in turn provided $1,125,000 in sponsorship income in 2022.

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The company also made it clear that like other F1 teams it is now broadening its horizons with the recently created Aston Martin Performance Technologies division, which “takes our learnings from the racetrack and applies them to real world problems.”

It added that the new entity “took on its first contract during the year [2022] and has a robust pipeline of opportunities as part of its future growth plan.”

Norris details why he thinks McLaren can beat Aston Martin in F1 standings

A surge in competitiveness by McLaren since a mid-season upgrade has left the Woking-based squad just 49 points behind Aston Martin in the fight for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.

Norris has no doubts that McLaren now has a car that can help close the gap in the remaining six races, and thinks that an ace up its sleeve is the fact that he and team-mate Oscar Piastri are both delivering points.

This situation is in contrast to Aston Martin, which has lost pace in recent races, and seen driver Lance Stroll not score any points since the summer break. It means that in the last four races, his outfit has added just 25 points to its tally, compared to McLaren’s 69.

Asked if he believed McLaren could now beat Aston Martin, Norris said: “Yes. I didn’t think it was that close. But yeah, if it’s 49, then I definitely think so.

“There’s not many races left. I’m sure there’s going to be a couple where Aston are going to be a bit stronger, but I think our advantage at the minute comparing to almost every team, bar a couple, is we have two drivers who are up there fighting for these positions and fighting for these points.

“Not every team has that at the minute, so I think that’s helping us. We can help one another, we can use one another, and I think that’s a good advantage we have over a lot of other teams at the minute.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, the McLaren team celebrate after the race

Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing, Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 3rd position, Andrea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren, the McLaren team celebrate after the race

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Norris is coming off the back of two second places in recent races, having finished behind Carlos Sainz in Singapore and then following home Max Verstappen in Japan.

While McLaren is still chasing improvements to its MCL60, especially in low speed corners, Norris thinks the overall package can now maintain good form for the remainder of the campaign.

“We’re on an upward trend,” he said. “We’re making good progress and days like [Japan] prove exactly that. Even though I know there’s going to be maybe some tougher races coming up at times, and maybe not as straightforward as [Japan], the progress we’ve made this season has been pretty incredible from my eyes.

“From where we were, to finishing 19 seconds behind the lead is I think evidence of exactly that. So I’m proud of everyone and we’ll keep pushing.”

But while Norris has set sights on beating Aston Martin, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella is playing the prospects down as he doesn’t think there is any benefit to be had from getting focused on a set target.

“I don’t even want to think that there’s anybody at McLaren that needs this kind of carrot to push any harder,” he said.

“I trust – and not only I trust – I believe, that everyone is pushing at the fastest reasonable sustainable pace. So that’s what I want and that’s what I think is happening.

“If we start thinking about, ‘now we need to finish fourth, we can finish fourth’, everyone would say, ‘Andrea, we know already. You don’t have to tell us. We don’t have to declare this to the world.’ We’re just going as fast as we can. And that’s the attitude.”

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, leaves the pits after a stop

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, leaves the pits after a stop

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Aston Martin is well aware of the threat that is now emerging from McLaren, as it battles to rediscover the form that helped it earlier in the campaign to a run of podium finishes.

Team principal Mike Krack said there was no doubt that the Silverstone-based team had to unlock more pace from the AMR23.

“It’s a hard fight,” he said. “I think we need to look at the upcoming races. We need to deliver the maximum in terms of reliability, which we have not done [in Japan]. We had one car at the finish, so we have to have no mistakes in the operations and focus on ourselves. We can not influence what they are doing.

“But there are some sprints. I think we will have some rain, probably. So it’s going to be long and hard. I’m always confident, but we need to be better in terms of reliability and we need to add performance.”

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