TEAM GUIDE: Aston Martin's complex F1 roots – and how they're aiming to fulfil lofty title ambitions
Welcome to the beginner’s guide to Aston Martin – the British marque aiming for World Championship success, with ex-Red Bull expertise and a two-time champion at the wheel…
Drivers for 2023
Fernando Alonso #14: 2 World Championships, 32 wins, 98 podiums, 22 pole positions, 2061 points, 355 starts
Lance Stroll #18: 3 podiums, 1 pole position, 194 points, 122 starts
Double world champion Fernando Alonso joins Aston Martin for this year after spending two seasons with Alpine, the team formerly known as Renault and with whom Alonso won his two titles in 2005 and 2006. The Spaniard spent 2019 and '20 pursuing other motorsports before deciding on a return to F1.
The oldest driver on the grid joins 24-year-old Canadian Lance Stroll, who is about to begin his fourth full season with the team. Lance made his F1 debut with Williams back in 2017 and joined Racing Point in 2019 after Force India were purchased by a consortium led by his father.
Stroll and Sebastian Vettel paired up for the second-straight season in 2022, but Nico Hulkenberg (now at Haas) took over from Covid-struck Vettel for the first two races of last season. Vettel returned thereafter and in Round 4, Spain, he finished eighth with Stroll taking P10 for the team’s first points of the season.
Stroll would place 10th a further five times as points trickled in for the midfield team, but the Canadian managed a season-best P6 in Singapore.
As for Vettel, he also managed personal bests of P6 in 2022 – in Azerbaijan and Mexico City – before bowing out of Formula 1 at the end of the season. Aston Martin picked up 55 points, 37 of them in the second half of 2022, to draw level on points with Alfa Romeo. However, they placed seventh in the standings as Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas boasted the best finish of the four drivers within the rival teams.
Aston Martin’s first F1 foray was in 1959, though they abandoned the sport at the end of 1960 without having scored a single point. The marque returned as the Red Bull team’s sponsors from 2016-20.
The current team began competing as Aston Martin in 2021, but the outfit's history goes back a lot further than that – in fact it startet out life as Jordan Grand Prix, who made their F1 debut in 1991 and finished a terrific third in the 1999 championship.
They were sold to the Midland Group in 2005 and became Spyker in 2007, which marked three seasons of struggles. Indian businessman Vijay Mallya purchased the team and renamed it Force India in 2008, and soon after, the team were known as the biggest bang-for-buck squad in F1, finishing an impressive P4 in the constructors’ championship twice, in 2016 and 2017.
Force India entered into administration in 2018 and became Racing Point Force India before becoming Racing Point in 2019, and then Aston Martin in 2021 when Lawrence Stroll purchased a stake in the British car maker. The Mercedes-powered team are in the process of building a state-of-the-art factory facility next to the original Jordan factory, from where they hope to launch themselves into championship contention in the next few years.
The highlight from Aston Martin’s short history in F1 so far has to be Sebastian Vettel’s podium – second-place – in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, as the German driver was disqualified from a P2 finish later that season in Hungary for a technical infringement.
There are no two ways about it – Aston Martin are targeting championship success in the long-term, and are wasting no time putting in place the building blocks to achieve that lofty ambition.
They reacted to Vettel’s departure by signing two-time champion Alonso as the German's replacement, while retaining Stroll to drive alongside the Spaniard.
Aston Martin have also been hiring accomplished and high-profile personnel to fuel their project to become world champions, with designer Andrew Alessi and aero chief Dan Fallows having both joined from Red Bull, with Andrew Green having moved up to the role of Chief Technical Officer.
The team's strong development potential was underlined by the fact that two-thirds of their points came in the second half of last season, as they worked to catch up after a slow start.
This season, they’ll be aiming for far better than seventh in the standings – while Alonso will be hoping to have a significant impact on the midfielders as they chase championship glory in the longer term.