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Aston Martin "foolhardy" to focus only on Mercedes and Red Bull

Aston Martin "foolhardy" to focus only on Mercedes and Red Bull

F1 News

Aston Martin "foolhardy" to focus only on Mercedes and Red Bull

Aston Martin "foolhardy" to focus only on Mercedes and Red Bull
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Aston Martin has ruled out focusing solely on closing the gap to Mercedes and Red Bull on its long-awaited return to Formula 1 as it is aware of the threat from behind.

The team, rebranded from Racing Point, finished fourth in the constructors' standings last year, albeit after points were deducted for the brake duct design furore at the start of the season.

Despite the introduction of the Aston Martin brand alongside Sebastian Vettel and its desire to become champions in the coming years, team principal Otmar Szafnauer is expecting for the season ahead to be challenged themselves by Ferrari and Alpine.

"I think it would be foolhardy for us to not worry about those behind us and just worry about those ahead of us," said Szafnauer.

"We have got to do a good job. The midfield is ever-increasing in competitiveness, it is getting much more difficult.

"I can't see Ferrari staying - where did they finish? sixth? - forever. They will be really difficult to beat this year. McLaren beat us last year into third, they will be difficult.

"Renault [Alpine] has the might of a manufacturer behind them as well, they are not going to be easy with [Fernando] Alonso coming in, a two-time world champion.

"It will be very difficult for us to finish at the top of that midfield, it is not going to be easy."

With the exception of McLaren, who pipped the team to third in the constructors' race at the final round in Abu Dhabi last year, only Red Bull and Mercedes finished ahead in the standings.

Whilst the ultimate goal is to eventually challenge both teams for victories and titles, Szafnauer remained realistic on his short-term goals.

"We want to look at the guys who finished ahead of us and get closer to them - Mercedes and Red Bull," he added.

"So the task is great but we are up for the challenge and we will work hard and do our best to achieve that."

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