Aston Martin felt that they had made a “mistake” when they first tried out their much-improved car ahead of the 2023 season, as they had comprehensively exceeded their own expectations.
The Lawrence Stroll-led unit has shown a remarkable change of fortunes compared to last season, when they finished seventh in the constructors’ standings.
However, their hard work during the off-season has been so good that Fernando Alonso was able to claim a podium finish.
Interestingly, Aston Martin was far quicker than Mercedes, a team that also provides them with their engine.
In terms of speed, Aston Martin was slower than just Red Bull on the day, as Alonso comfortably got past Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Even Lance Stroll put in a good performance and finished the race in 6th position despite breaking both his wrists during a freak cycling incident during pre-season.
An engineer at Aston Martin explained the process behind the team’s swift rise.
“We wanted to be better than last year’s Red Bull in all areas with the AMR23,” the engineer said.
“We worked with values determined from the GPS data. When we actually exceeded these targets, we initially thought that we must have made a mistake.”
For much of last season, Aston Martin was involved in a lower midfield battle, but there is a belief that this will be far from the case over the course of the current campaign.
“In a cost cap environment, you need to start with a good baseline because you cannot afford to spend what you have available on just on developing,” team principal Mike Krack said.
“I think this is something that is also why we went aggressive in the targets that we had for that car.
“Obviously it’s not always easy to achieve, but our team has managed to achieve great things there, and it’s much, much easier to develop from this base than to develop from the base we had last year.
“I think last year, we managed to get better over the season, but we saw also how hard that is in terms of, because of the intensity that you have with racing and cost cap, you are really tight. I think we have our development plan, and this is independent of Red Bull.
“We have a plan in place, but the others have a plan in place as well. It could well be that if you develop at the same rate, you stay where you are. Let’s see where we get to.”