Formula 1: Surprising decline might not be finished yet

Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Formula 1 (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)
Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Formula 1 (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images) /

To open the 2023 Formula 1 season, Aston Martin were the clear-cut second-best team behind Red Bull. They have since dropped to fourth and might not stop there.

Following a strong start to the 2023 Formula 1 season which saw Fernando Alonso score a number of podium finishes behind Red Bull 1-2 finishes, Aston Martin falling down the ranks throughout the year was rather unexpected.

They fell behind Mercedes a few races ago, and following Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, they now find themselves in fourth place in the constructor standings behind Ferrari through 14 races.

Even McLaren’s recent resurgence has them positioned to potentially surpass the Silverstone-based team by the time the 22-race season ends.

What is behind Aston Martin’s fall throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season?

Some may suggest that it is not really a fall, but a lack of ability to keep up with the competing teams. At this point in the season, Ferrari are beginning to find their form again and Mercedes and McLaren have both implemented some substantial upgrades, which have demonstrated a visibly large improvement during race weekends.

But Aston Martin’s attention toward the pace in their car has been rather minimal, as both Alonso and Lance Stroll are falling down the order during races. While the season began with podium finishes for the Spaniard and points finishes for the Canadian, that has evolved into the former scoring only a few points and the latter regularly finishing outside of the points.

The upgrades that Aston Martin have implemented on the AMR23 have not been nearly as impactful as those of their rivals, and they are suffering the consequences.

With eight races remaining on the 2023 schedule, their fall to fourth place in the constructor standings might not stop there, as McLaren’s young driver duo have begun to consistently finish above Aston Martin following their recent upgrades.

Additionally, Stroll’s form has seen big dip. His consistent scoreless outings have played a part in Aston Martin’s fall.

After all, Alonso does still find himself as the top non-Red Bull driver in the driver standings. In fact, even now, he has still shown that he is capable of finishing on the podium with the current state of the car, having just placed second in Zandvoort two weekends ago.

However, as many teams have begun shifting their full focus towards their 2024 cars, Aston Martin still plan to upgrade their car deep into the 2023 season. Those upgrades could play a role in them maintaining their position in the championship or even moving up a spot or two again.

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So while Aston Martin’s decline following their strong start to the season has been rather surprising, there is a good chance that they make a late push to end the season on a high note. At the very least, their anticipated upgrades should be enough to keep them ahead of McLaren.