RACE DEBRIEF

    Aston Martin are back on the Formula 1 grid this year for the first time since 1960. The team revealed their new AMR21 car on Wednesday afternoon – and F1 technical expert Mark Hughes has already cast his critical eye over the new challenger. Here's his first take on the car that Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll will be doing battle in this season...

    The new Aston Martin AMR21 is quite significantly different from its Racing Point RP20 predecessor – and its Mercedes W10 ancestor. Probably to a greater visual degree than between any of the 2020 and '21 team cars so far.

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    Its svelte shape incorporates an extensively reworked front wing, new sidepods and radiator inlets – as well as the usual 2021 refinements to the bargeboards to better meet with the requirements of the smaller regulated floor.

    Because Aston Martin were allowed a token-free upgrade of taking the 2020 Mercedes rear suspension (rather than the Mercedes 2019-spec of last year’s Racing Point), the team have been free to spend the tokens on the chassis.

    This has uniquely allowed them to optimise the chassis shape to the revised 2021 aero regulations. It appears these may have been spent around the sidepod/side impact structure, which looks to be slimmer than last year’s RP20.

    Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One® Team_AMR21_01W.jpg
    The AMR21 has slimmed down compared to the Racing Point RP20

    This has been part of a general shrinking of the sidepods and reshaping of the engine cover. Like the new Mercedes W12, the sidepod top features a distinctive bulge to clear something beneath (as seen in the images below) but the bulges are quite different in shape, reflecting a very different sidepod shape.

    Those on the Aston appear narrower at the front, but without the extreme lateral ramp of those on the W12.

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    The swept back W11 rear suspension will have been particularly useful in helping claw downforce back lost to the new regulations, even though it was actually designed (by Mercedes) before those regulations were even thought of.

    The front wing’s contours imply even more outboard loading of what was already an outboard-loaded wing, suggesting plenty of confidence from the Silverstone-based team’s aero group.

    Although the design’s Mercedes heritage is still visible, we can now see more clearly than last year how the team is evolving on its own path with this car.

    Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One® Team_AMR21_05W.jpg
    The AMR21's front wing suggests that it is outboard loaded - even more than last year's Racing Point