The team transforms from Racing Point to Aston Martin, marking the return of the iconic British car brand to the F1 network for the first time in 61 years. She has big ambitions, especially after signing four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel as Lance Stroll’s partner.
Szafnauer previously announced his intention to become a “super team” but in its first season as Aston Martin, Silverstone is aiming for a feat it barely missed in 2020 – third place and the best midfielders in Formula One.
“It will be our target,” said Zavnauer in an exclusive interview with Craig Slater of Sky Sports. “But i do not think it’ll be easy – we’ve some great competitors there.”
The Aston Martin Team Leader has identified two major threats in particular. Historically the most successful teams in F1. One being rebuilt after a season well below average and another season it made Racing Point third in the final race in 2020.
“Ferrari will definitely work hard during the winter to be better than last year,” added Zavnauer. “McLaren is getting a new drivetrain [Mercedes], like we got it, and I’m sure they did it for the sake of competitiveness.
“And there’s some driver movement too, so we’ll see how it all works. So there are some differences.”
Szafnauer also said that changes to the car in 2021 – which weren’t as drastic as in previous seasons but still lead to a major redesign – could make a big difference to the pick arrangement.
“They took tons of ground until we lost downforce. Depending on how the difference regained that downforce, that has a huge impact.”
How similar is an Aston Martin to a Racing Point?
Racing Point made headlines last season and were penalized for making the 2020 car – especially the brake lines – very similar to the 2019 Mercedes, the F1 world champion and its engine suppliers.
Szafnauer said of the 2021 Aston Martin: “From a philosophical point of view, low-wheel drive remains the same.
“[But there are] important aerodynamic changes – so we had to redesign everything.”
He also announced that despite the 2020 airing, the team had designed a new chassis.
“This is that the first time that a lot of of its parts are new for a transport vehicle,” he said. “Even though the philosophy is that the transmission, we still have tons of latest parts within the car, tons of aerodynamic development and even a replacement chassis for us.
“Although the car are going to be almost like last year, it’s mostly new.”