I was reading an article by Adam Cooper over at Motorsport about Aston Martin and their struggles. Now I know they are having struggles but unlike Adam, I had not taken time to calculate them in more meaningful terms.
In Australia, the team had four accidents between two drivers. They are last in the championship with zero points. The only team who hasn’t scored. Sobering.
Now this is a shadow of the Otmar Szafnauer led team under the guise of Force India and its transitional name, Racing Point Force India. They were always punching above their weight.
One might argue that the cost cap this year is a challenge for the team and with four crashes, it most likely will have an impact on how much can be spent on upgrades for the balance of the season but I would argue that the previous iterations, pre Lawrence Stroll ownership, were on a shoe-string budget as well.
Adam asked team boss Mike Krack about the challenge:
“I had a lot of questions when I was approached for this position, and when I got the answers for these questions, I knew that this was going to be a big challenge,” he said. “It would have been easy to run away from it. So I was never going to expect that it was easy.
“I have to say the first three races were not easy, really. I mean, at the end of the day, F1 is F1, it’s hard. You have to have a quick car, you have to make no mistakes, you have to have good drivers.
“So the whole thing is not together at the moment. We have to really work hard to get there. There’s no magic at the end of the day.”
Some have argued this is what happens when you buy a team for your son but I think that’s a bit myopic if I’m honest. That’s too easy of a target. Sure, Lance may not be Max Verstappen behind the wheel but he’s far from Nikita Mazepin or other also-rans in the field. Lance has pace and does very well in the wet. He’s a good driver and he’s still learning. I have more concerns about 4-time champ Sebastian Vettel’s form lately than Lance.
I think Lawrence bought the team because he wants to be in F1. If he just wanted his son in the sport, he could have stopped at his sponsorship of Williams and a seat for his son. No, acquiring Aston Martin is something completely different.
I think Mike is right, he has a lot of learning and work to do and I think the team will sort its issues over time. The patience is all going to have to come from Lawrence down in order to sort the porpoising and other issues and it may take a few seasons to do so given the new regulations and the cost cap.
Mercedes struggled, Red Bull struggled, Haas is, Alpine are…hell, they all struggle. It takes years, not weeks to cure F1 ills. I suspect Lawrence knows that and he’ll want to be the guy who solves it quicker than other teams and that’s going to be the tough thing. Can he solve the team’s issues quicker than others?
This is a huge opportunity for Mike to show his craft. IF he doesn’t solve some of this quickly and start harvesting points, there is no telling how long Lawrence will wait. If this season is spent at the back of the grid, I look for some driver and management change for 2023.