Aston Martin: French GP result ‘silences’ cheating suspicions
June 23, 2021
Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer hopes that his team’s double top-ten finish in France will silence those who suspected the outfit of violating Pirelli’s tyre pressure prescriptions.
Aston Martin and Red Bull both suffered tyre failures in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, respectively with Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen, with the latter on course to win in Baku before his blowout.
Pirelli’s subsequent investigation revealed no flaw or product defect, but suggested that the failed tyres had not been run to the manufacturer’s pressure prescriptions, which led to suspicions that Red Bull and Aston Martin had somehow succeeded in running their tyres with lower pressures.
Both teams officially denied tampering with pressures or not following Pirelli’s prescriptions. And Szafnauer contends that his team’s performance last weekend, achieved under stricter monitoring by the FIA of tyre pressures and temperatures, should dispel any doubts about Aston’s integrity.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “Especially when you know exactly what you’re doing, and you’re well within the rules, for other people who don’t know what you’re doing to accuse you.
“Hopefully that will silence them, but I can tell you that we’ve never done anything untoward.
“We’ve always followed both the FIA and the Pirelli prescriptions, and will continue to do so.”
Like other teams, Aston Martin took note of the FIA’s latest technical directive regarding more stringent preparation and running conditions for tyres. But ultimately, the team just adapted its tyre management procedures and strategy to the higher starting pressures that were imposed in France.
Read also: McLaren disappointed with lack of ‘transparency’ over tyre blowouts
“Well, we can make it work,” said Szafnauer. “And as you saw, the tyre technical directive came out, we had to change our ways of working, and it didn’t have an impact on our strategy whatsoever, which just kind of tells you that we were following the prescription anyway.
“You just have to know what you’re doing. And we still work within all the parameters. It’s just if you’re a little bit clever on how to use the tyre, that’s what happens.
“You have to look at some of the other teams that went backwards because of the technical directive,” added the Aston team boss, perhaps alluding to Ferrari’s massive underperformance in France.
“From where we qualified I think we did pretty well to get both of them in the points, which is what I was hoping for.
“Maybe Seb could have been a little bit higher up because it was very tight at the end. But we’ll take that, re-group, and qualify better at the next one and race better.”
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