The season opener brought a nasty surprise to Aston Martin. The team, which at least wanted to play in the upper midfield, struggled with Williams at the end of the table. The wind tunnel saw the AMR22’s values far better than they could show on a racetrack.
“The rebound is slower than our pace,” explained coach Andy Green. “It forced us to drive the car in a mode that it was not designed for. We had to drive it higher than we wanted to, and that cost us a huge amount of time.”
Engineers faced the question of whether they could keep the concept and eliminate the car’s bounce by modifying the undercarriage, or whether they should switch to another concept that has already proven successful.
When the Aston Martin B-Version was rolled out of the garage, it was clear how Andy Green’s design team decided. It’s a major convertible that is amazingly similar to another car. The ring has already parodied the “Red Bull Green”.
FIA inspectors at the Aston Martin plant
In fact, between axles, the AMR22B shares a lot of similarities with the Red Bull RB18. From the side pods that descend to the ground in the form of a slope. Up to the eight channels and vertical bulkheads in the frontal area of the lower hull. The FIA already knew. In the case of upgrades, teams must submit CAD files for individual components to the World Federation in advance.
Because of the large number of matches, FIA inspectors attended the Silverstone plant in Aston Martin on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to investigate whether there had been any unauthorized exchange of information. The assembly has now given Aston Martin the green light. According to the results, the car was built internally without outside help.
Suspicions were also evident because seven Red Bull engineers had changed directions over the past year, including former aerodynamics chief Dan Fallows. After the first pictures of a revamped Aston Martin circulated online, Red Bull also wondered if the defectors had taken more than just their acquaintance with them.
No help from former Red Bull employees
Aston Martin refuses to doubt. The Silverstone team has been climbing not only in the Red Bull design office, but also at Mercedes. And you still didn’t go the Mercedes road, although the gearbox and rear suspension are both bought from Mercedes.
In addition, Dan Fallows, the former Red Bull man, only moved into his new office in April of this year due to a work ban, and thus could have absolutely no effect on the design of the B version.
Because the new Aston Martin is not a quick reaction to a poor start to the season, but it has been developed in a wind tunnel since November of last year. “If we only start the program after the first race, we will never be able to put two copies of the Class B on wheels before Barcelona,” says one engineer.
Therefore, Aston Martin has always planned with two different concepts, because the technical regulations at the development stage were left open, and in this way it would be the right way. In October 2021, Aston Martin designers made the decision on the A-version.
“The values in the wind tunnel got better and better, and the curve was showing how much downforce we’d get for it pointed sharply upwards. After a month we found out we didn’t get any more. We had to put the car higher and higher, the more downforce we held. That’s He made the car fall out of the window we designed it for. So we were moving backwards.”
Since November 2021 working on a version B
Therefore, engineers resumed work on version B, which was temporarily closed. And they had side boxes like Red Bull, without ever seeing the RB18. An engineer reveals: “We were able to show the FIA CAD data and images from our wind tunnel model last fall and prove that we didn’t copy anything.”
The restart of the B version came too late to start the season. Production began long ago to Spec A. However, because it was clear that sooner or later Aston Martin would switch to the alternative, only a minimum number of parts were produced from all components so as not to conflict with the cost ceiling so early in the season. For example, there was only one spare part for each coolant.
Andy Green recalls that when he introduced the car, he actually pointed out that when the chassis was being designed, one had to drive different configurations.
The cooling system and interior packaging are arranged completely differently on a new car. It is also evidence that version B has been planned for a long time. “The chassis had to be built to accommodate two different cooling systems. If we hadn’t, it would have been impossible to switch to the new sidepod geometry.”
New concept less likely to bounce
In fact, the AMR22B was only used for the England GP at Silverstone. But when it became apparent after the first two races that the A-version was still suffering from recoil and therefore not achieving the downforce values promised by the wind tunnel, Andy Green pulled the ripcord. The refurbished car had to be put on its wheels as fast as possible.
At that time, some upgrade parts had already been produced with the aim of Silverstone. “We would not have succeeded in passing Barcelona without this advanced effort,” the team says. For Aston Martin, the season starts all over again. Therefore, one is also prepared for the fact that the success of the procedure will not be immediately apparent. “We have to understand the new car first.”
So it’s possible that copy B is also slowed down by rebound. However, the engineers are confident that the vibrator can be better controlled using the Red Bull concept. “Because now we don’t have to drive too low and it’s very difficult to generate enough downforce. It’s a completely different way of gaining downforce. More travel is more comfortable for the driver and better for the tyres.”
It is a déjà vu for Green and his colleagues. Two years ago they were criticized for copying last year’s Mercedes. But there is a fundamental difference this time. “The nose, front and rear wings and suspension are completely different from Red Bull. That’s why you can’t talk about a copy. The sloping shape of the side legs has not only appeared on Red Bull, but on other cars as well.”