Aston Martin unveils ‘aggressive’ 2023 F1 car | CAR Magazine

Aston Martin unveils ‘aggressive’ 2023 F1 car

Published: 13 February 2023 Updated: 13 February 2023

► New Aston revealed
► Alonso alongside Stroll
► Aggressive design

Aston Martin just pulled the (Union Jack) cover off its 2023 F1 car, the AMR23. And unlike some rivals, who’ve trotted out the word ‘evolution’ endlessly while showing new cars that looked an awful lot like old cars wearing ’23 liveries, Aston’s gone big: almost entirely new car, half-new driver line-up and, imminently, an all-new headquarters described by ambitious billionaire executive chairman Lawrence Stroll as ‘a gamechanger’.

F1 2023 preview

‘The 2023 car is 95% new,’ confirms Dan Fallows, one of Aston’s star hires. ‘We wanted to be bold and aggressive with the new car, and we challenged the engineering team to really push themselves. The 2022 regulations created cars that were very different, both from what had come before and from each other. We saw different interpretations of the new rules from the different teams. We’ve since found a philosophy we’re happy with. This car builds on that while giving as a platform we can develop for the future.’

Aston’s 2022 started pretty abysmally, but it evolved the car rapidly through the second half of the season to finish level on points with Alfa Romeo. ‘The front wing stands out as new for 2023,’ continues Fallows, and you see these aggressive sidepods we’ve been working on. Those elements are evolutions of the rules as they were. For this year we have the bigger mirrors and the stronger roll hoop structure [both of which the 2023 regs demand] and changes to the floor, which has been raised in the middle of the car to combat the purpoising we saw last year. That was obviously a challenge, working to make up for that downforce reduction. We’re hoping 2023 will mean cars that are just as exciting to watch but with less of the bouncing.’

Aston revealed the AMR23 in one of the three new buildings that’ll make up its new Silverstone F1 campus, and that will come on stream early summer. Together, they’ll unite the team – one that started out three decades ago as Eddie Jordan’s plucky outfit – in one state of the art facility combining design, manufacturing and a wind tunnel. It’s the most visible aspect of Aston F1’s massive investment, and a £200 million statement of intent that’s helped it snare the likes of technical director Fallows from Red Bull and double world champion Fernando Alonso from Alpine. 

Alonso will drive alongside son-of-the-chairman Lance Stroll and, if anything, the Spanish veteran appears more visibly fired-up about this Aston Martin chapter than his young Canadian teammate. 

‘I’m very demanding with everything that I that I do,’ confirmed the infamously dedicated Alonso at a press conference for the AMR23’s unveiling. ‘I expect a lot from the people I work with. I give 100% and expect the same from them. Since my first day in Aston Martin I felt exactly the same values from the people around me. Obviously, we have the leadership of Lawrence. He had a lot of success in many different things and I have no doubt Formula 1 will be no different; he will succeed sooner or later. What also motivates me is the new people joining the team, Dan [Fallows] and Eric [Blandin, deputy technical director and former Mercedes aero chief] – the best people in each of our competitors. Aston Martin went there, convinced them and took them. These are some of the things that are going on in this team that make it special.’

F1 cares for little but results. Well, Netflix and results. Chairman Stroll cites time as the last piece of the puzzle for his team in green. He’s impatient for success, and pandemic set his timeline back a couple of years. For 2023 the hope is to head to the front of the midfield. Joining the elite group at the front – Red Bull, Merc and Ferrari – will take longer. 

‘This team is not happy with fourth, this team is not happy with third and this team is not happy with second,’ says Alonso. ‘This is what I feel from everyone here. But at the same time there are no unrealistic expectations. Last year, only three teams finished on the same lap of the leader. Everybody else was one lap behind, including McLaren that finished fourth in the championship. We know that those kinds of gaps in F1 are very difficult to overcome in two or three months. But let’s see if we can if we can have a good season.’

For all his realism, Alonso doesn’t rule out adding to his tallies, both of wins and of world titles, with his new employer, a team he acknowledges will be his last. And if Aston finally hits the front after he’s gone, well, he’s at peace with that.  

‘In F1 you need the investment and you need the talent. We have the investment, we have the facilities, and we have the talent. So, it’s just a matter of time. Unfortunately, I’m not 20. But I will do my best to help the team. Hopefully, Aston will be in contention for championships in the future. If I’m driving, that’s good. If I’m not driving I will be super proud to have been a part of this organisation, an Aston Martin dominating races and championships like Red Bull with  Sebastian [Vettel] and [Mark] Webber, or Mercedes with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Valtteri] Bottas.’

The AMR23 is the first step on that road, and a machine Alonso describes as ‘the first real Aston Martin car with this set of regulations’. Within weeks we’ll know if it’s capable of real results.   

By Ben Miller

The editor of CAR magazine, story-teller, average wheel count of three