Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer has insisted the team cannot switch to a high-rake aerodynamic concept due to Formula 1’s homologation of the rear suspension.
Under the Racing Point banner, the Silverstone-based team made great strides in 2020, only surrendering third in the constructors’ standings through a points deduction imposed for the illegal rear brake duct saga.
However, with the regulation changes to the rear-end downforce for this season, Aston Martin – like Mercedes – has been left disadvantaged due to a low-rake aerodynamic concept that has seemingly suffered more as a result of the changes.
But changing the rake intensity of the AM21 is far from simple and after finishing the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in 10th and 15th, Szafnauer has suggested last season’s suspension homologation has cornered the team into a near-impossible predicament.
When asked if the low-rake concept was able to be refined, Szafnauer said: “It’s worse than that.
“For the first time ever that I can remember in my 24 years of the sport where we’ve had to homologate the suspension due to the Covid regulations if you remember.
“You can only change it if you actually used your tokens on suspension so even if we wanted to run 150-millimetre rear-ride height we can’t.”
Szafnauer refused to be drawn on whether there was a potential conspiracy as to whether there was a genuine safety concern that enforced the changes, adding: “I don’t know.
“I don’t know what Pirelli was saying about the tyres but right after the changes were made, Pirelli announced they were also bringing new construction.”
Although the radical aerodynamic changes for 2022 weigh heavy on the team’s priority list for this year’s development plans, the 56-year-old suggested Aston Martin would not make a knee-jerk reaction on switching full focus to the new breed of car.
“The trade-off has to be, how much more can we gain this year at what expense for next year, and that’s really hard to predict,” he explained. “At this time we are going to keep going in parallel.”