Aston Martin’s points tally is disappointing in Formula 1 this season and disguises what is actually a rather impressive rate of scoring races.
Lance Stroll’s tenth place at the Dutch Grand Prix means that eight times in the last nine grands prix an Aston Martin has finished in the top 10.
That is equal to Ferrari and something that only Red Bull, Mercedes and Alpine can improve on.
“Our racing team is very good, strategy-wise in terms of tire management and also the right set-up,” says Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack.
“But we have also improved the car, I mean, it would be unfair to put everything in the race team. The car has clearly improved in recent events. And we look forward to making it even better.
“When the going gets tough, I think our racing team does a good job. This also helps us to get the scores all the time. Even if they are frustrating scores.”
This is a reference to the main problem within a solid scoring streak: five of those eight top-10 finishes have been 10th-place finishes.
And in the team’s most competitive events, where he has led Alfa Romeo, Haas and AlphaTauri, there has usually been a fairly full house of finishes for the top three teams, the two Alpines and Lando Norris’s McLaren.
The only time a race of relative attrition matched Aston Martin’s strength was in Azerbaijan, where Sebastian Vettel finished sixth, the team’s best finish of the season.
It means that Aston Martin has been building up its points tally at a glacial pace and as a result the team has made no progress in the constructors’ championship. It still sits in ninth place even though the AMR22 has arguably improved enough to have the sixth fastest car, at least in race conditions.
“It could be a lot more frustrating if you end up 15th,” says Krack.
“Whenever we are there, there is no one in front of us who has a problem.
“[In the Dutch GP] again we have the top six cars finishing, we have both Alpines and a McLaren finishing with Lando, and we are next.
“I said we have to get in front of this group [in the lower midfield] and this we have achieved in the meantime. And we have to continue like this.
“We have scored eight times out of the last nine races except for Austria. We have also started a little later this time on our own merits.
“I think we can still score points in the next races. But I agree that it is not good to have only one again [point].”
Aston Martin’s improved form is still a world away from the grand ambitions the team has. Owner Lawrence Stroll set a goal of five seasons to contend for wins and championships. This is the second year, and that’s a long way off.
But the team is on a positive trend in 2022, at least after a miserable start: it failed to score points in the first three races and was briefly bottom of the championship.
Part of that progress is due to the efficient performance of the racing team. Part of it is due to the aggressive development of the AMR22 and the steps that have been taken to improve on the rating in particular.
Persistence means he’s now at least within arm’s reach of Haas and AlphaTauri. And Alfa Romeo may not be completely out of his league if this consistency in scoring translates into a higher result at some point.
“You can’t deny if you look at the pace in qualifying now, we’ve made a small step,” says Krack.
“But also, if you look at the pace in the races and the scoring, we have improved.
“I think the first three races were catastrophic. But we worked our way back a bit.
“We still need to score a little higher than we have. We’ve managed to sneak in probably behind Alpine and McLaren.
“Consistently, we can be in contention for sixth fastest. No points for sixth fastest, that’s the thing!