It was the Belgian’s first running in an F1 car since he tested for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2021.
The two-day session, which was also attended by McLaren, featured rainy conditions throughout and only wet and intermediate tyres were used.
Due to unfavorable weather conditions, Pirelli was unable to test their slick tires without tire warmers. These tires will no longer be used in 2024 as per the recent decision made by the F1 Commission. Furthermore, if Pirelli fails to secure the F1 tire supply contract against Bridgestone in 2025, there is a possibility that these tires may never be used in any races.
As such, the wet running was arguably more useful to Pirelli as it rarely gets the chance to test in such conditions at a current race venue, rather than an artificially-soaked Paul Ricard or Fiorano.
Aston’s driver, Lance Stroll, finished 70 laps on Tuesday and achieved a fastest time of 1m57.697s. On the other hand, Oscar Piastri drove 47 laps in his McLaren and recorded a best time of 2m00.682s.
On Wednesday, and with heavier rain in the first part of the day, Aston again topped the mileage and times with Vandoorne running 53 laps with a best effort of 1m57.631s, and Lando Norris recording a 2m00.628s over the course of his 40 laps.
Despite the lack of dry running for Vandoorne, the test was a valuable opportunity to get a feel for the AMR23 in case he is needed to step in as reserve at any point, while it also helped him to correlate with his simulator running.
Stoffel Vandoorne, Aston Martin
Photo by: Aston Martin
He expressed his delight at being back behind the wheel of an F1 car, specifically the AMR23. It had been a considerable amount of time since his last drive, and it was also his inaugural experience driving in the distinctive green colors of Aston Martin.
Doing it at Spa was also a remarkable experience, for clear reasons, despite the rainy weather. We used wet tires in the morning and as the conditions got better in the afternoon, we followed our plan using intermediate tires. Even in the wet conditions, the car felt great and I cherished every lap.
Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola confirmed that the wet mileage, while not the original purpose of the Spa test when it was booked, was “very useful” for the Italian company.
“He stated that similar to the Belgian GP weekend, there was no relief from the rain throughout the two days of testing at Spa.”
As a result, we had to focus solely on the development of the intermediate and extreme wet tires. These tires were specifically designed for asphalt surfaces that experienced significant variations due to the presence of water on the surface.
“We were able to travel nearly 1500 kilometers using Aston Martin and McLaren, despite the challenges. This session proved to be highly valuable as it provided us with significant data for our testing schedule from now until the end of the year. It is important to note that our focus for the testing program has shifted due to the decisions made during the recent F1 Commission meeting.”
The next Pirelli tyre test is scheduled for Monza in the week after the Italian Grand Prix in September.