De la Rosa: Aston Martin Shifts Focus to 2024 Car.

Aston Martin is already working hard on next year’s Formula 1 car, according to team ambassador Pedro de la Rosa.

At Silverstone, McLaren stunned the paddock by qualifying P2 and P3 immediately behind runaway championship leader Max Verstappen’s dominant Red Bull.

And Fernando Alonso, a permanent fixture on the podium early in 2023, is just P9 – but he says not too much should be read into the recent slump.

“That doesn’t mean that we are not aware that we lack performance compared to the first five races,” said the Spaniard. “It is obvious and we can all see it.

“But we are working on it. The world championship is not one race. Our focus is on the long term.”

Indeed, McLaren struggled early in 2023 but has steadily added updates that have caught the eye of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton – who is P7 for Sunday’s race.

“I’m not surprised,” said the seven-time world champion when asked about McLaren’s pace. “When you look at the car, the result becomes clear.

“I think if you put that car next to a Red Bull, it looks very similar from the side. It’s not a blow to us, it’s just a wake-up call.”

When asked about Hamilton’s comments, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the visible appearance of the McLaren and its similarity to the Red Bull is “only half the truth”.

“I guess Lewis was referring to the fact that he thinks it seems to be a good direction,” he added. “But that’s easier said than done.

“I think each of us has had parts in the wind tunnel that looked like the ones on the Red Bull, but they didn’t perform as well as we wanted,” said Wolff.

“Nevertheless, another team has just found a second with it, so we need to take a close look at everything again. But you also have to just take your hat off to them.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said after qualifying P5 at Silverstone that the progress made recently by McLaren has been “amazing”.

Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko agrees, telling Kronen Zeitung newspaper: “I didn’t expect the McLarens to be so close to us.

“We even considered not going out anymore to save tyres for the race. Luckily, we didn’t.

“On the other hand, we are happy that Hamilton is not next to us, which is reassuring. Because in that respect, no good memories come up.”

As for Aston Martin’s apparent steady decline in recent races, team ambassador Pedro de la Rosa admitted that it is related to each team’s development schedule.

“You can no longer change the planning you have designed for the second part of the season,” he told DAZN. “In the end, the wind tunnel hours are what they are and in our case, they are also warning.

“And from now on, let’s say that the improvements that were planned are going to arrive a few weeks or months later than what is tested in the wind tunnel,” de la Rosa added.

“But the wind tunnel is already dedicated to the 2024 car. But I think that’s not only us – it’s all the teams. Every team is thinking about next season in the month of July.”

As for 2023, de la Rosa warned: “The improvements will gradually arrive, but they will gradually dry up as well.

“Therefore, what we see in this summer snapshot will be the same until the end of the season.”