‘Stroll must improve and keeping Alonso happy is crucial’

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Aston Martin ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 season

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Aston Martin will be hoping to start 2024 like they did last year after they had their best season since returning to Formula 1 in 2021.

Fernando Alonso stood on the podium eight times in 2023 and was Red Bull’s biggest rival in the early part of the season, although the team were outdeveloped by Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren.

Lance Stroll, who was unable to finish a race in the top three last year remains at the Silverstone-based team for a sixth campaign.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam DickinsonJasmine HughesJoe Krishnan, Ed Spencer and Brandon Sutton take a look at what to expect from Aston Martin in 2024.

Jasmine Hughes: Stroll desperately needs to improve

The Silverstone-based team enjoyed a firecracker start to the 2023 season that will likely be hard to replicate this year. Numerous podiums in the early half of last year eventually gave way to mere handfuls of points, as Aston Martin’s competitiveness slipped away from them.

Whether Aston Martin enjoy a successful run this year will be dependent on whether the team has been able to understand and rectify its sudden drop-off in performance last year.

Despite its new multi-million pound factory, it feels a little like Aston Martin is starting 2024 on the backfoot, forced to play catch up with those teams that surpassed it in the latter half of last season.

Launch images of AMR24 | Aston Martin F1 Team

The real elephant in the room is Stroll, who desperately needs to close the performance gap to teammate Alonso if Aston Martin are to get the better of teams like McLaren and Mercedes, both of which enjoy a stronger driving pairing than Aston Martin.

Until Stroll starts pulling his weight within the team, Aston Martin will struggle to outperform the competition at the top of the constructor standings.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 5th

Ed Spencer: Another step is needed as Honda arrival looms

One of the feel-good stories of 2023 was Alonso‘s return to the rostrum as the mercurial Spaniard could fight at the front again with a competitive car at his disposal.

But there were worrying signs for 2024 as Aston Martin‘s form tailed off in the second half of 2023, dropping them behind McLaren in the constructors’ championship.

This puts further pressure on Dan Fallows to get the design of the 2024 car perfect to ensure Alonso’s final years aren’t squandered.

Stroll has a point to prove after an average 2023, where Alonso made him look average. Although his father owns the team, his drive shouldn’t be guaranteed if he fails to improve.

With Honda‘s arrival in 2026, Aston Martin has to get serious about wanting to win world championships, further emphasising the need to start winning races sooner rather than later.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 4th

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll celebrate their result at the 2023 Brazilian GP | Aston Martin

Brandon Sutton: Alonso will wring everything out of car

It’s a foregone conclusion that the adaptable Alonso will wring everything he can out of his 2024 challenger, so Aston Martin can never be counted out. That battle with Sergio Perez at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix is a testament to his determination to get the best result possible.

As far as the two-time champion is concerned, he will be at his very best with no change between the offseason, but Stroll’s form, is crucial to ensure Alonso isn’t fighting the constructors’ championship single-handedly.

He is a lot better than he was last season. If the winter break has allowed him to reenergise himself then Aston Martin should have a decent number two to add to the bigger points his teammate will collect.

He has the talent to race to be solid, as shown in early 2020 when he was a match for Perez and even in 2023 when he was in the hunt for pole in Saudi Arabia before a mistake at the final corner of the lap.

However, they were the only top five team to go backwards throughout last season and I think this confusion will limit them to fifth in 2024 as their rivals progress onwards.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 5th

Adam Dickinson: Alonso to contend for podiums

One of the hardest teams to predict, which half of 2023 was the real Aston Martin? They started with scorchingly fast consistency as Alonso recorded six podiums in the first eight races and should have at least led laps at the Monaco Grand Prix, if not put in a real challenge for the win.

But after treading water from Canada up to the summer break, Aston Martin were sometimes the sixth-best team on occasion and were eliminated in Q1 three times out of four in Austin and Mexico City.

They did manage a slight uptick right at the very end of the season though, and I think they will repeat that trick with Alonso starting the season as a podium contender – though with stiffer opposition than in 2023.

But to a certain extent, it doesn’t matter. 2023 showed that Stroll puts a ceiling on Aston Martin‘s constructors’ championship position in that their car needs clearly superior to any team north of Alpine, because Stroll‘s deficit to the likes of Carlos Sainz, Oscar Piastri and George Russell is too large.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 5th

Fernando Alonso embraces Aston Martin team principal and reserve driver Felipe Drugovich after his podium at the 2023 Brazilian GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

Joe Krishnan: Keeping Alonso happy is crucial

At one stage last season, they had arguably the fastest car on the track that wasn’t a Red Bull, and Alonso proved he could deliver a big haul of points with eight podium finishes. Only two other teams have a world champion in their team, so that’s a big advantage.

Keeping the Spaniard happy is more crucial than ever, with Mercedes looking for a Lewis Hamilton replacement. That said, their switcheroo with McLaren in terms of pace advantage wrecked their season, and the 42-year-old won’t tolerate a repeat.

Mike Krack reckons they have learned from their errors concerning upgrades, and poaching key staff from the top teams is only going to strengthen them. But I still think they won’t be able to ascend to F1‘s elite while Stroll is there. Injuries aside, you simply can’t be 132 points worse off than your team-mate.

Aston Martin are going to have to make their peace with it, though, because he will only leave if his dad sells up or Lance decides to quit F1 – and neither are likely to happen anytime soon. Pin their hopes on Alonso again and they might make life difficult for McLaren in the battle for fourth.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 5th

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