Stroll’s Aston Martin masterplan on track as team readies 2022 car RaceFans

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If you’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars to rescue a struggling British motoring icon and bring it to new glories – both on and off the racetrack – you need a solid plan to get there .

When Lawrence Stroll and his business partners took over Aston Martin at the start of 2020 and immediately announced that they would bring the famous name back to the Formula 1 grid after an absence of more than six decades, the new team co-owner had to great ambitions for Silverstone. team.

Stating that the rebranded team would be “very competitive” from the start, Stroll went on to reveal Aston Martin’s core mission to transform “into a Formula 1 world championship winning organization within the next four to five years”.

Many manufacturers announced their arrival on the Formula 1 grid expressing their desire for medium and long-term glory in the championship and the vast majority left with their tails between their legs. But Stroll’s Aston Martin is a different animal – no longer an outsider, but a powerful predator, fully confident in its ability to achieve apex status in its unforgiving new habitat.

The 2021 season has been a disappointment for Aston Martin

And with the team’s new car due to appear today, how is Stroll’s five-year plan progressing into its second season?

The AMR-21 was launched 12 months ago following Racing Point’s most successful season since his days as Jordan. Lawrence Stroll was confident the team would be able to immediately build on this momentum in 2021. “The team’s ambitions are to pick up where we left off,” he said. “I think we’ve taken another big step forward as Aston Martin. It’s a relative game – I’m sure our competitors have also taken a step forward. I have a good feeling we have takes a step forward a little bigger than them.

However, the team quickly realized that 2021 would be a much tougher campaign than they enjoyed with their ‘pink Mercedes’ the year before. Snooked by subtle changes to the technical regulations which have hit those using a ‘low rake’ aerodynamic concept harder than their rivals, Aston Martin have slipped from fourth in the constructors’ championship – with 195 points, four podiums and a race victory in 2020 – to finishing their first year in green in seventh place, with just 77 points. Ferrari’s newly hired Sebastian Vettel took their only podium (and lost a second on a technical infraction) while his teammate, Lawrence’s son Lance, never finished in the top five.

NB. 1991-2005 Jordan; Midland 2006; Spyker 2007; Force India 2008-18; Race point 2019-2020, Aston Martin 2021

But while the 2021 season may have proved disappointing at the track, major groundwork for Aston Martin’s long-term future has been laid at its Silverstone base. In September, the team inaugurated a massive £200 million expansion to its factory, designed not only to extend its operation, but also to make it more efficient and effective. Featuring a new wind tunnel and improved simulator, the “state-of-the-art” facility is expected to be operational by January.

New factory Aston Martin F1 - artist view
A major factory expansion is underway

As F1’s first all-new, purpose-built factory in nearly two decades, it’s hard to overstate how important this expansion is in helping Aston Martin bridge the gap between perennial midfield runners and the real contenders, able to compete head-to-head with the might of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. Crucially, in the era of the budget cap, Lawrence Stroll noted that Aston Martin’s heavily revised headquarters would be unique in that it would be “the only one currently fit for purpose with financial regulations taken into consideration”.

But beyond the facilities and equipment needed to keep Aston Martin running the way its owners want it to, the right staff and management to get the most out of it are absolutely essential. It’s no surprise that Aston Martin was the most active team last year in terms of seeking talent from rival teams in F1 and other motorsport categories to bolster their ranks ahead of the next phase of the master plan that will unfold.

Just a week after the start of the expansion of their new factory, the team has announced that former McLaren CEO and team principal Martin Whitmarsh has been hired as Group CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies. , which encompasses their efforts in Formula 1. Whitmarsh’s mission was clear, with Lawrence Stroll reiterating that his new signing had been tasked with transforming the team into a championship contender “within the next four to five years”.

Red Bull aerodynamics chief Dan Fallows was named another major hire by Aston Martin’s effort in June 2021. But a legal row between the teams meant they only recently agreed terms last month for Fallows to assume his new role as technical director in April. . Aston Martin has also singled out Mercedes chief aerodynamicist Eric Blandin and Alfa Romeo designer Luca Furbatto in the sport’s most aggressive recruitment campaign in recent memory.

Mike Krack has been named team manager

Earlier this year the team announced that Szafnauer would be leaving as team principal – as had been widely rumored – and soon after, former BMW motorsport chief Mike Krack was confirmed as his replacement. Krack brings with him a wealth of experience, including over a decade in Formula 1, and even reunited him with Vettel, whom he had worked with during his then-rookie time at BMW Sauber.

Reporting directly to Whitmarsh, Krack will be an important piece of the puzzle, Aston Martin hopes, as the team enters the second year of its five-year plan. The recent announcement of a joint title sponsor – Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Aramco – also reflected the team’s growth from a business perspective.

With so many unknowns heading into this radically different new season, it’s hard to predict how far Aston Martin will fare when the AMR22 hits the track in Bahrain for the season-opening race. But with the benefit of a year of development from four-time world champion Vettel, it’s likely the team will expect to improve on last year’s performance to a minimum.

Even if the 2022 season sees the Aston Martins once again feature in the middle of the pack, that is unlikely to worry the Silverstone team or its owner. With so much falling into place, the future of the team in green looks brighter than ever.

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