Aston Martin has launched its 2022 Formula One car, the AMR22, which will be driven by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll this year.
The team made clear that the car it revealed on Thursday is the actual car that will race this year, making it the first genuine look at a car built to F1’s new technical regulations.
Haas and Red Bull have both held launch events in the last week, but the images of the Haas car were only digital renders of an early stage of the VF22’s development and Red Bull’s car presentation featured a show car 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 written with the aim of increasing the chances of overtaking in races. There are some significant design changes compared to recent years — including a focus on ground effect aerodynamics and larger 18-inch wheels — which have altered the visual appearance of the cars.
The new AMR22 is clearly the most advanced design released so far, with a number of variations on the ideas that featured on the F1 concept car released last year and used at Red Bull’s launch.
However, Aston Martin chief technical officer Andrew Green stressed that it was the “first iteration” of a design that will develop significantly over the season.
“The huge changes in the 2022 regulations created a massive challenge,” Green said. “Every section of the car is virtually new, so the philosophy for the AMR22 is about being open-ended and giving ourselves flexibility.
“No one has all the answers to maximising the regulations yet, so initially it’s about avoiding development cul-de-sacs — that was the key message to our design team. It’s a huge challenge, but everyone has risen to it, and we’re motivated to solve the questions that arise in development.
“The AMR22 will be the first step in a lot of iterations in the year ahead, which will, in turn, forge the direction for 2023 and beyond. In lots of ways, this has been the busiest winter we’ve ever had because of the nature of such radically different set of regulations. There’s been very little carryover from 2021 into 2022.”
With pre-season testing still two weeks away, Vettel said it was too early to speculate where Aston Martin would stack up in the competitive order this year.
“I think from a driving point of view the main challenge will be adapting to these cars,” Vettel said in a press conference ahead of the launch. “They feel a bit different driving in the simulator, but I think it will be different again driving in real life.
“Then I think it depends on where we are [in the competitive order]. The ideal challenge will be to fight for victories and a lot of podiums because we are so competitive, but at the moment I don’t have any expectations because right now you can only look at the cars.
“So far we have only seen fakes [of car designs] until today. But you have no idea of what is right and what is wrong, so I think we need to relate some lap times and some track experience to it and then we will get a better impression. I think the goals follow where we are [in the order].
“But one of the key goals this year is to show that we are a working structure and 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 before the first pre-season test with all teams in Barcelona on February 23-25.
“What we wanted to do is shakedown as early as possible to check the systems out on the car and give us some time between shakedown and the Barcelona test,” Green said. “So that is the reason for shaking down tomorrow, so we have time to react.
“Hopefully we’ll have a good shakedown tomorrow and there’s nothing to react to, but because the car is absolutely brand new with no carry over at all, and pre-season testing is really short, and the second test is so close to the first race that it’s going to be almost impossible to react to, we thought it’s going to be good to get a shakedown in before the first test and give ourselves a gap between the shakedown and the first test to react to.
“That’s where we came to with the shakedown date, and it just made sense to launch the day before. We have the car, the car’s effectively ready, so that was the logic behind it [the launch date].”
Aston Martin finished seventh in last year’s constructors’ championship but has set its sights on challenging for championships in the future.
The team has seen a big change in senior 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 under the Aston Martin name last year by its owner Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance, who is also a co-owner of the Aston Martin car company.