Otmar Szafnauer admits that the 2021 aero rules have made a bigger impact on Aston Martin’s performance than on Mercedes’.
The 2021 F1 cars had slight changes compared to their predecessors in terms of aerodynamics. The FIA required the teams to modify the floor and bargeboard area in order to reduce the downforce levels. In fact, those changes hurt Mercedes and Aston Martin that had high-rake cars. After a brilliant 2020 season, Aston Martin only managed to finish 7th in the Constructors’ Championship.
Szafnauer stated that close competition in the midfield meant that Aston Martin would lose more than Mercedes.
“What’s happened this year confirmed our pre-season worries that the unilateral aerodynamic changes that were made late in the season had a massive effect on us and Mercedes,” the Aston Martin team principal said.
“Because the midfield was so tight, the lap time that we lost – seven, eight, nine-tenths of a second per lap, depending on what track we were at – moved us from the third-fastest car to about the sixth, seventh-fastest car.
“With Mercedes, they too lost because of the aerodynamic philosophy they run, but that just moved them from always being on pole to now fighting for the championship.
“For us, I think it had a much, much bigger impact, and because of it, and because of the ’22 regulations being completely different, we had to switch early on to focus all of our attention on ’22 and leave ’21 at that time.”