Aston Martin, which had a strong start to the 2023 season, faced declining performance as the matches proceeded. It is pivotal to note whether the team managed to decode and build on the lost performance over the past season.
When discussing the new features of their launch, we focus first on the sidepods. Drawing from the gulley-style sidepod concept of Alpine’s, Aston Martin has taken that base idea and created an extreme variation of it. More specifically, they’ve introduced a radical version of the sidepod inlet design based on gathered data from Red Bull’s inlet design, which underwent various changes during the previous season.
The team had previously embraced the elements seen in Red Bull‘s RB18 in their previous car by incorporating an extended lower lip within a more traditional hooped design. However, 2024’s sidepod design features an extended lower lip, sitting higher on the chassis than the previous design which enlarges the sidepod’s undercut while offering additional protection to the air flowing inward from the tyre-generated turbulence ahead.
The newly introduced panel permits the inlet to be placed further back and is larger than perceived from the front, especially at the outer points, due to the narrowed bodywork at its shoulder.
Beyond the mentioned details, the overall concepts of the 2024 sidepod aren’t dramatically different from the previous year. However, the shape has been meticulously optimised with two things in mind: the internal components and the optimal utilisation of the aerodynamic link it has to the floor and its ancillary parts. This also includes a deeper gulley approach, a design feature taken from the previous AMR23, as its successor is designed with the starting point and it’s trail to the rear of the car towards the coke-bottle region in mind.
In this area, another significant change to the AMR24 is evident. This change was necessitated by Mercedes, from whom they purchase the gearbox and rear suspension. Given this, the team switched from a pull-rod to a push-rod layout.
Unquestionably, this transition has consequences for the packaging of the car. The suspension elements are now positioned higher, thus needing exhaust and cooling reconfigurations. Shown in the renders, the engine cover outlet and associated bodywork are modified from the final season configuration. Interestingly, the team has used this configuration before, creating another gulley on both sides of the engine cover’s spine for better flow control.
The implications of the move to a push-rod suspension layout, such as the system’s weight occupying a higher position, have their advantages. For instance, a clearer passage over the floor is built, and new geometrical possibilities within the diffuser region, not possible with the pull-rod layout, have emerged.
At the car’s front, the push-rod layout is preserved and slightly tweaked with the suspension layout and associated fairings, offering a maximised aerodynamic benefit and providing a crucial link between the front wing, floor, and sidepod area. It’s notable that the team returned to a shorter nosecone setup with the tip mounted on the second element like the 2022 model, instead of the AMR23‘s mainplane. While this change broadly impacts the nosecone’s body, it generally maintains the shape of the previous year’s model. The positioning of the tip does affect its connection with the mainplane from a structural and aerodynamic standpoint, a characteristic mirrored in the connection of the other front wing elements with the nose’s side.
As we glance at the rest of the front wing, it is clear that Aston is building on the work it started in 2023. The outboard sections of the flaps continue to be used to direct the flow of air in harmony with the endplate geometry. A similar story applies to the floor edge, which exhibits an edge wing like the one used in the latter stages of 2023, but is modified to fit the floor’s current geometries.
Not seen in the render but observed during the shakedown, the team persisted with the semi-detached tip section solution for the rear wing, first introduced at the season end, in Abu Dhabi.