The technical directive hit Mercedes and Aston Martin the hardest

Author of the article: , published September 26, 2023.

The FIA ​​announced a new technical directive after the Monza race, which mainly restricted tricks that allow the wings to bend, as well as tricks that allow the bottom of the car to bend. Although they did not name the teams against whom the measures were to be directed, the Mercedes and Ferrari camp held a silent hope that the Red Bull racing cars would be easier to reach from Singapore onwards.

And that's what happened in Singapore. At Red Bull, rivals were warned against premature joy, as in Milton Keynes, long before the start of the race weekend, they expected the most problems on a rather specific circuit. Lewis Hamilton was somewhat restrained in his statements to the public, but hinted that it will be very suspicious if Red Bull does not win the Japanese Grand Prix with a 30-second lead.

On the other hand, Max Verstappen lashed out at Suzuka to win by 20 seconds and then in qualifying, after getting all three free practice sessions, took pole position by more than half a second ahead of Lando Norris.

As if the dominant advantage in the fight against the stopwatch was not enough, he then told the crowd to "suck the egg" and won the race with a 19.3 second advantage. At times, the Dutchman drove faster on worn tires than his rivals on fresh ones. This is enough to convince us that even this technical directive did not affect the Red Bulls according to the wishes of the rivals.

However, they obviously found themselves in trouble with the Silver Arrows and Aston Martin. In the first races of the season, if you remember, the latter appeared as a team between the overpowering Red Bull, which was a shade too fast, and the others, especially Mercedes and Ferrari. But the very first changes in Azerbaijan, when the FIA ​​was supposed to ask the team to make certain changes, led to a drop in form, and after Singapore, it seems that they have completely gone off the right track. Even in Miami, with the new rear wing, they achieved the same aerodynamic efficiency as Red Bull, and in Suzuka, Fernando Alonso was almost 75 seconds behind Verstappen.

"We lack speed on the flats," said the Spaniard after the race. "Even when we activate the DRS, the racers in front of us easily run away." And the words of the two-time world champion are also confirmed by the data on the speeds on the flats, where Alonso reached a maximum of 324 km/h, while Charles Leclerc reached even 331 km/h. Max Verstappen was the slowest on the track, as his top speed was only 310 km/h, but it should be noted that he did not use DRS in the race, while he reached 335 km/h with it in qualifying.

It was slightly better than Aston Martin's at Mercedes, where Lewis Hamilton reached a maximum of 327 km/h, and Russell 323 km/h. The difference in speed eloquently testifies that the German team is diligently looking for the right path on which to place the W15 racing car for 2024, but in the fight for second place in the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari is already breathing down their necks, which has significantly improved in Suzuki with a new bottom driveability of the SF23 and is only 20 points behind Mercedes.

Imitating Red Bull paid off the most for the McLaren team, which became the most similar to the Red Bull RB19 in terms of driving characteristics, which allowed the team to use a wing that creates less vacuum and therefore less drag. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were Verstappen's biggest rivals both in qualifying and in the race, and even otherwise, in the championship scoring from Silverstone alone, they gained 10 points against Ferrari, 14 against Mercedes, and as many as 76 points against Aston Martin.

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