Aston Martin is keeping a tight lid on expectations and is targeting only “occasional podiums” in Formula 1 this year, despite the clean-sheet regulation reset that should level the competitive playing field, according to co-owner Lawrence Stroll.
The Canadian billionaire was on hand to unveil the team’s new AMR22 F1 car at the company’s Gaydon headquarters on Thursday morning and reiterated that 2022 is “the second year of our five-year plan” to win the F1 world championship.
The new car features a revised shade of green in comparison to the one used last season, which was Aston Martin’s first as a fully fledged F1 constructor since 1960. Backing from Aramco, the state-owned Saudi Arabian oil giant, has been added as the company becomes joint title sponsor with digital solutions brand Cognizant.
Aston’s sophomore year coincides with a new era for F1, which has undergone “the biggest set of rule changes on the chassis side ever seen”, as Stroll put it. The new rulebook is based around ground effects aerodynamics, which return to F1 for the first time since 1982, with a target of allowing cars to follow each other more closely and improve the racing spectacle by diminishing the ‘dirty air’ effect of surface aerodynamics.
The chassis rules, combined with the introduction of lower profile 18in Pirelli tyres also designed to aid closer racing, have been pitched as an opportunity for midfield teams to rise up the competitive order. But Stroll remains cautious about 2022 as the team embarks on a second campaign with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel – who will race in his 16th F1 season – and the co-owner’s son, Lance Stroll.
“A good result would be a step up from where we were last year,” said Stroll Sr. “This is a five-year journey I have planned. I’ve been around F1 in one shape or form for well over 30 years, so I knew what I’d bought myself. Everything I do in life I try and win.
“This is year two of the five-year plan and I hope to improve this year over where we were last year. But it is a journey. Do I think we are fighting for world championships? Absolutely not. We all know the top teams have a history of IP that takes years to catch up on.”