Aston Martin's Problem: Gap To Red Bull Hasn't Changed And Now There Are Three More Teams

F1
by Adam OndrikSunday, 21 January 2024 at 19:00
alonso fernando astonmartin car28
Aston Martin's team principal, Mike Krack, described a problem his team encountered during the most recent - 2023 season.
If we asked anybody ahead of the season 2023 which was the most likely team to challenge Red Bull, almost nobody would mention Aston Martin (which finished seventh in 2022).
If we asked anybody after the first 2-3 races of the 2023 season which team was the most likely to challenge Red Bull, almost everybody would say Aston Martin.
And if we asked anybody right now about which F1 team is most likely to go toe to toe with Red Bull in 2024, Aston Martin is included in the conversation, but not as much as Mercedes, McLaren, or Ferrari.
Why is that? The team principal of the British team, Mike Krack, gave an insight into a problem his team encountered during the 2023 season. He told motorsport.com:

"When we started the season, we were confident that we had made a good step forward. And we were surprised that others were struggling."

Aston Martin was the biggest surprise of the 2023 season, according to many, including Jolyon Palmer. The team managed to jump all the teams (except Red Bull) in terms of development during the 2022-2023 winter break.
That is the reason why, after the first few races of the season, Aston seemed like the most likely challenger to the team from Milton Keynes. However, the pecking order started changing quite quickly.

"But then, the competition started to improve, and we did not manage this improvement. We also had our upgrades, but we never made such big steps with our upgrades as our competition did. This resulted in others slipping in between."

On the other hand, Krack explained his team's gap with Red Bull stayed the same - meaning they managed to keep the development pace with the leading team.
However, three teams made significant progress throughout the 22 races of the 2023 season. Suddenly, Aston Martin found themselves in fifth place instead of second.

"So the gap to the fastest car, which is the objective that we're using, has not changed that much over the season. But now, there are three or four different teams in between, whereas in the beginning, there was none, you know?"

Nevertheless, Aston Martin is still considered a potential title challenger for the 2024 season. What do you think are the chances of the team repeating the considerable development step forward we saw at the beginning of 2023?