Vandoorne Downplays Aston Martin's Chances Of Competing For Title

F1
by Adam OndrikThursday, 01 February 2024 at 05:00
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Aston Martin test driver Stoffel Vandoorne asserted his team will most probably not directly compete with Red Bull in 2024.
All in all, Aston Martin had a great 2023 season. Going from the seventh-best team at the end of 2022 to the second-best team at the beginning of 2023 is something no one would have expected.
For a while, it seemed that no other team but Aston Martin would be able to stand up to Red Bull. But in the second half of the season, the British team lost a lot of ground to their rivals and fell to fifth place. Stoffel Vandoorne told Motorsport Week:

"There was a lot of learning being done during that period of time. But, yeah, to know exactly how competitive we’re going to be starting this year is very hard to know."

Red Bull didn’t bring any new upgrades for most of the second half of the season and still finished ahead of everyone with quite a gap.
Probably all of the top four teams behind Red Bull aspire to close the gap to the team from Milton Keynes. But all need to make risky and radical decisions in order to have a chance of doing so.

"I mean, the others aren’t standing still as well. Red Bull, obviously, is the benchmark at the moment, and that’s not an easy one to beat, let’s say, for anyone at the moment."

As it stands, Red Bull is the most likely team to start the 2024 season in the lead, and what their rivals can do about it remains to be seen. Vandoorne sees Mercedes and Ferrari as “the big players.”

"So they’re definitely going to be up there. They’re seen as the benchmark right now But then you have the likes of Mercedes, Ferrari that are the big players as well."

Surprisingly, Aston Martin’s reserve driver tried to temper the expectations, saying his team’s target would more likely be to beat Ferrari and Mercedes rather than Red Bull.

"So I think the target is to compete with them on a more regular basis. But we’ll have to wait and see where we rank up exactly."

It would suggest Aston Martin isn’t confident enough in their progress at the moment. However, they also didn’t expect to be second last year, so perhaps the British team might surprise everyone again in 2024.