Aston Martin manager Otmar Szafnauer said the newly renamed squad were aiming for a coveted third place in the championship this season, but were hugely wary of their “formidable” rivals.

After being renamed Aston Martin over the winter (formerly Racing Point) – the famous British car brand will return to the F1 grid for the first time in 61 years.

The team led by Otmar Szafnauer have big ambitions, especially after signing quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel who will team up this year with Canadian Lance Stroll.

In what will be their first season as a works team, Aston Martin will clearly be aiming for third place in the Constructors’ Championship – a feat they narrowly missed last year by finishing behind McLaren in fourth. square.

“That will be the target for us. “ Szafnauer explains to Sky Sports. But I don’t think it will be easy – we have some great competition. “

Ferrari, for sure, will work hard during the winter to do better than last year. McLaren has a new powertrain [Mercedes], the same as we have and I’m sure they did it for the sake of competitiveness. “

And there are driver moves too (Ricciardo joined McLaren, while Sainz joined Ferrari), so we’ll see how it all plays out. So there are differences. “

Szafnauer also said the changes to cars in 2021 – while not as drastic as in previous seasons – could make a big difference in the pecking order.

They took off big chunks of the flat bottom so that we lost our downforce, and depending on how the teams get that downforce back, that will have a big impact. “

Racing Point made the headlines last season, and was even penalized, for designing its 2020 car – and more specifically the brake ducts – in a way too similar to the 2019 Mercedes, F1 world champion.

For this new season, Szafnauer explains that the Aston Martin will evolve a lot in terms of aerodynamics compared to the 2020 single-seater: From a philosophy point of view, it will remain the same with a car with a low rake (the height of the rear of the car). “

“But there are some significant aerodynamic changes – and because of that – we had to redevelop everything. This is the first time that a carried over car (from the previous season) has many new parts. “

Although the philosophy is postponed, we will still have a lot of new parts on the car, a lot of aerodynamic development and even a new chassis for us too.

Even though the car will be similar to last year, it is mostly new. “ concludes the American.