The Aston Martin Formula 1 team has unveiled its AMR21 car, complete with a new green livery.
Aston is the new identity of what was previously Racing Point, a result of Lawrence Stroll’s ownership of both the car company and Silverstone-based F1 team.
It has fully adopted the famed British manufacturer’s traditional racing colours for its AMR21, which has some flashes of pink for former title sponsor BWT, which will be driven by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.
“I’m feeling optimistic, buoyant and anxious to get going,” said team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
The AMR21, which will make its on-track debut in a Silverstone shakedown on Thursday, is the first F1 car to bear the Aston name since the underwhelming DBR6 of 1960.
However, this iteration of Aston in F1 is likely to be much more successful for the company.
As a close evolution of last year’s RP20, the AMR21 has a mix of title-winning DNA from Mercedes and race-winning pedigree from Racing Point.
The 2020 Racing Point was a Mercedes-inspired design that triggered claims it was a ‘copy’ of the 2019 W10 and the running joke that it was a ‘pink Mercedes’.
But it was ultra-effective on track, with Vettel’s predecessor Sergio Perez winning a race and the team finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship, narrowly pipped to third by McLaren.
Though the colour has changed for 2021, the Mercedes homage has not. In addition to keeping much of the RP20’s fundamentals, the AMR21 benefits from a ‘free’ switch to Mercedes’ 2020 rear suspension and gearbox.
This is because it was using the 2019-spec Mercedes rear end last year, and is allowed to switch to the latest year-old version for 2021.
Aston has saved its development tokens to upgrade the monocoque, but is not disclosing the reason for that or the style of change that has been made.
Though Racing Point enjoyed a very successful 2020 season it underperformed in the championship given it had a faster car than McLaren over the balance of the season.
Its defeat in the fight for third would have been avoided without a points deduction for illegally-designed rear brake ducts, a result of the investigation into claims Racing Point copied the 2019 Mercedes against the rules.
But with Vettel moving across from Ferrari to join Aston, the team’s aim will be to eliminate some of the errors that cost it dearly last year.
“For us, success would be to start the season where we left off,” said Szafnauer.
“We were very competitive in the races towards the end of last year. Unfortunately, we had a few crucial engine failures towards the end which meant we didn’t extract all the points we could have out of that performing car.
“So if we can start with that car performance where we left off, however do a better job scoring points more regularly, I think that would be a success for us.”
Off-track the team’s shift into its Aston era has brought substantial commercial benefits.
The team has a new title sponsor in IT giant Cognizant and has revealed a steady stream of new partners in recent days, as well as maintained others that joined in the Racing Point era.
“It’s been a fruitful winter from a commercial perspective, we’ve got some great partners,” said Szafnauer.
“Have we met our targets? We will continue to keep going and hopefully attract other like-minded partners for the future.”