Canadian Lance Stroll believes the Aston Martin team is “going in the right direction” with the technical improvements introduced to the AMR23 at last weekend’s US Grand Prix, where he crossed the line in ninth place before being classified seventh following the disqualifications of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
In Austin, the Aston Martin team took the (bold) decision to introduce a package of updates to its single-seater despite the fact that it was a sprint weekend, with only one hour of free practice on Friday. This meant that the Silverstone team had very little time to test and validate their technical innovations.
To make matters worse, Lance Stroll suffered brake overheating problems during that one session, forcing the Aston Martin driver to spend a long time in the garage and complete just five laps of the track in his advanced car.
After the sprint weekend, the drivers moved straight into qualifying and the Parc Fermé rule was applied, meaning that teams could not touch the set-up of the cars without risking a grid penalty.
Update was ‘a challenge’
“Bringing updates to a sprint weekend was always going to be a challenge due to the limited practice time available, but everyone worked very hard to prepare the package and as we head into the final races of the season we wanted to get it on the car as soon as possible,” said Lance Stroll of the new AMR23 package.
“Unfortunately, an overheating problem in EL1 meant that I was only able to do five laps, so we went into qualifying with very little data to optimise the car,”
COTA not indicative
Faced with this situation – and with Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso qualifying from the back of the grid in Austin – Aston Martin took the decision to break the Parc Fermé rule to change the set-up on Stroll’s car and revert to an older specification [the one used in Qatar] on Fernando Alonso’s car for Sunday’s main race. This decision meant that both drivers had to start the US Grand Prix from the pit lane.
While Alonso was forced to retire due to damage to the floor of his single-seater, his team-mate Lance Stroll managed to finish in ninth place in the points, before moving up two places after the stewards’ decision to disqualify Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.
Mexico should suit updated car
For Lance Stroll, the technical changes made to the AMR23 by his team in Austin have worked well, and the Canadian hopes to confirm this again this weekend in Mexico City, on a track that is very different to Austin.
“Once we made those changes, the car was much better to drive and I think our race on Sunday really showed that the improvements were working,” added Lance Stroll.
“I had a lot more grip, especially in the corners, and that meant I was able to pass cars that we’ve struggled to pass in recent events.”
“I’m really happy [to have scored points in Austin], especially as we had a tough Friday and Saturday at COTA.”
“We knew that starting from pit lane – behind the other three cars doing the same [the two Haas and Alonso’s Aston Martin] – was going to be a big job for us in the race, but the team quickly adopted a ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’ mindset, which gave us a bit more freedom to really experiment with the set-up changes we made.”
“There’s certainly more tweaking to be done, and having more practice time in Mexico [a classic weekend with three free practice sessions] will help with that, but I’m convinced we’re heading in the right direction.”
Heading into the Mexican Grand Prix, the Aston Martin team is fifth in the Constructors’ World Championship, six points behind McLaren.
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