Aston Martin has launched its 2022 Formula 1 car, the AMR22, which will be driven by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll this year.
The team has made it clear that the car it unveiled on Thursday is the real car that will race this year, making it the first real glimpse of a car built to F1’s new technical regulations.
Both Haas and Red Bull held launch events last week, but the images of the Haas car were only digital renders of an early stage of VF22 development and the Red Bull car presentation featured a car exhibition in the team’s new livery rather than the actual design that will be raced this season.
F1’s new regulations for 2022 have been drafted with the aim of increasing the chances of overtaking in the race. There are a few significant design changes from recent years – including an emphasis on ground-effect aerodynamics and larger 18-inch wheels – which altered the visual appearance of the cars.
The new AMR22 is clearly the most advanced design released to date, with a number of variations on the ideas that featured on the F1 concept car released last year and used at the Red Bull launch.
However, Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green stressed that it was the “first iteration” of a design which will grow significantly over the course of the season.
“The huge changes in the 2022 regulations have created a huge challenge,” Green said. “Every section of the car is practically new, so the philosophy of the AMR22 is to be open and to give us flexibility.
“No one has all the answers yet to maximize regulations, so initially it’s about avoiding development dead ends – that was the key message to our design team. It’s a Huge challenge, but everyone took it on, and we’re motivated to solve the issues that arise in development.
“AMR22 will be the first step of many iterations over the coming year, which in turn will forge the direction for 2023 and beyond. In many ways, this winter has been the busiest we have have ever had because of the nature of such a radically different set of regulations. There was very little carryover from 2021 to 2022.”
With pre-season testing still two weeks away, Vettel said it was too early to speculate on Aston Martin’s position in the competition order this year.
“I think from a driving perspective the main challenge will be adapting to these cars,” Vettel said in a pre-launch press conference. “They have a bit of a different driving feel in the simulator, but I think it will still be different in real life.
“So I think it depends on where we are [in the competitive order]. The ideal challenge will be to fight for victories and many podiums because we are very competitive, but at the moment I have no expectations because at the moment we can only watch the cars.
“So far, we have only seen counterfeits [of car designs] till today. But you have no idea what’s right and what’s wrong, so I think we need to connect some lap times and some track experience and we’ll have a better impression. I think the goals follow where we are [in the order].
“But one of the key objectives this year is to show that we are a structure that works and that we can either build a very good car from the start or improve throughout the season… or do both! “
The car will hit the track for the first time on Friday during a shakedown at Silverstone, which Green hopes will help debug any issues ahead of the first pre-season test with all teams in Barcelona from February 23-25.
“What we wanted to do was a shakedown as soon as possible to check the systems of the car and give us some time between the shakedown and testing in Barcelona,” said Green. “So that’s the reason to shake tomorrow, so we have time to react.
“I hope we have a good shakedown tomorrow and there is nothing to react to, but because the car is absolutely new, without any carryovers, and the pre-season testing is very short, and that the second test is so close to the first race that it will be almost impossible to react to, we thought it would be good to have a shakedown before the first test and give us a gap between the shakedown and the first test to react.
“That’s where we got to the shakedown date, and it made sense to launch the day before. We have the car, the car is indeed ready, so that was the logic behind it all.” [the launch date].”
Aston Martin finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship last year but are aiming to challenge for championships in the future.
The team saw a big change in general management over the winter, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer leaving Aston Martin and being replaced by former BMW Motorsport boss Mike Krack.
The team was rebranded as Aston Martin last year by owner Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance, who is also co-owner of car manufacturer Aston Martin.