Despite rules complaints, Aston Martin are only 0.07s slower at Imola · RaceFans


On the first race of the 2021 F1 season in Bahrain all 10 groups lapped slower than they did the earlier 12 months.

Three weeks later at Imola, the image has modified: Two groups lapped faster across the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari than they did when F1 visited the identical venue simply 5 months in the past.

That’s spectacular when you think about the steps that had been taken to sluggish vehicles down this 12 months. Varied sections of the rear bodywork had been reduce and revised tyres launched.

Nonetheless, at Imola, McLaren and Williams turned the primary groups this season to submit a year-on-year enchancment in lap instances. Whereas each gained lower than a tenth of a second, McLaren’s achieve would have been higher had Lando Norris not had his quickest lap time in qualifying deleted for exceeding monitor limits.

Mercedes set the quickest lap time of the weekend thus far courtesy of Lewis Hamilton’s pole-winning effort. However Crimson Bull know this was a chance missed. Max Verstappen made an error on his last flying lap – a uncommon one, he identified – costing him what Mercedes’ Toto Wolff reckoned was a strong shot at pole place.

Racing Level lapped Imola fractionally faster final 12 months

That pole for Mercedes got here regardless of the crew lapping eight tenths of a second slower than they did final season, the most important year-on-year rise of any crew. However essentially the most intriguing year-on-year change is at Aston Martin.

The crew’s CEO Otmar Szfnauer has complained bitterly over the change in laws which he feels was meant to scale back the competitiveness of the groups operating ‘low rake’ vehicles – i.e. Aston Martin and Mercedes. However whereas Mercedes have taken the worst efficiency hit of any crew at Imola, Aston Martin are lapping inside a tenth of a second of the instances they set final 12 months, after they had been often known as Racing Level.

The AMR01 is simply 0.077s slower than the RP20 was round Imola. After Bahrain Szafnauer vowed to start out “clawing again the deficit that was imposed on us by the FIA by way of their regulation change”. It appears they’re effectively on the best way.

Aston Martin is certainly one of a number of groups which has seen a big change in fortunes at Imola in comparison with Bahrain. They, together with Williams and McLaren, have carried out considerably higher in comparison with their 2020 benchmark than many different groups. It can probably take just a few extra races at a spread of various venues earlier than we have now a full image of the stability of energy this 12 months.

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