The Silverstone-based team have stood out on the grid this year for the way they have often entered Grand Prix races with no new medium and hard compound tires left.
Indeed, regularly in free practice sessions, he scrubbed the racing tire sets for a single lap.
The tactic caused some intrigue and sparked theories that the team was doing it because they believed subjecting the tires to a controlled, gentle heat cycle in a practice lap could make the chemicals hardened longer lasting under race conditions.
However, Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough explained that his policy was actually driven by the need to increase his live pitstop tire practice.
With its pit crew having struggled to adjust to the heavier 18-inch tires this year compared to other teams, particularly amid the increased pressure when a car comes up to race speeds, Aston Martin has chose to do something different.
McCullough said: “At the beginning of the year we were really struggling with pit stops: we were the eighth, ninth or 10th best team in pit stops.
“And you can’t really race strategically with poor, inconsistent pit stops.
“We found that in training we weren’t too bad. But, as the cars roll in the box, especially in a stack situation, we struggled for a variety of reasons.
“So we started off by just saying, ‘Well, if we can do live pit stop testing during a race weekend, that helps. So how many can we do?’
“A lot of times we do it on tires that we don’t even use in the race. So, it’s just to try pit stop training. This is the main reason to do it.
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
McCullough believed, however, that there were specific events where a scrubbed tire might be more beneficial than a brand new one for racing.
“We’re trying to figure out these compounds, and there are very small circumstances on some tracks where that maybe helps,” he said.
“But usually that’s not why we do it.
“There are pros and cons, but from a starting performance point of view you want to be on a new tyre.”
F1 tire supplier Pirelli had noticed Aston Martin’s scrub tire tactic this year but always doubted it would bring any performance advantage.
Speaking recently about whether there are any gains to be made from cleaning tyres, Pirelli’s F1 and motor racing manager Mario Isola said: “I have spoken to Aston Martin on several occasions at this subject and in my opinion, with our tires, with the characteristics of our compound, it is not very useful, I will say.
“But it’s their choice. It’s not forbidden. And they can do it.
“Usually this turn to scrub the tyre, maybe you take away the peak of grip, but you stabilize the compound a bit more. But it depends on how the compound is designed.
“But the level of curing of the compound and the knowledge of our product, I would say it doesn’t really make a difference.”