Racing Point will need to prepare to become an Aston Martin F1 Team next year in record time if the 2020 season continues through December or even January 2021.
Lawrence Stroll has decided to rename his team following his strong involvement with the British manufacturer in order to put Aston Martin back on the world stage.
This is of course a source of excitement at Silverstone, the team’s base, but things can’t get any further than that because of Covid-19.
“Yes there have already been a lot of discussions with Aston Martin and meetings are still going on to see how we can best integrate the two entities. But we’ve only been able to do all this by video-conference for the moment. It’s a bit frustrating but no doubt we will now have a great name,” commented Otmar Szafnauer.
“I’m incredibly excited. It’s a great name with a lot of history and apart from Ferrari, for me it’s probably the second most iconic name on the grid, with all due respect to all the others we’re racing against.
“There’s a lot to look forward to, including the layout of our new factory because some of their designers are going to be joining us. We have to see how the design of all the team elements will be. It’s a big change and it’s going to have to be implemented by 2021 in a context that’s not obvious.”
“It’s a bit of a break because everyone’s working from home and we can’t launch things yet. But at least the meetings are going on. Soon we’ll be able to see each other and start for real.”
Even before Aston Martin arrived, Stroll had decided to start building a new factory. Work was due to start in the spring, but everything has come to a standstill. At best the factory will be ready by the end of 2021, which is a little too late to start building the F1 car of 2022.
“I don’t think this hinders our long-term project, I just think it delays it. It delays our inevitable expansion. We were working on an already tense plan to complete the new plant in August 2021 but I think that is no longer feasible now. I don’t think we’re going to be able to cut back construction by two or three months.”
“I still don’t know when we’re going to get out of this lockdown. It’s been going on since the middle of March, maybe we could come out the third week of May… That might be possible. And if it is, we’ll have lost two months. It’s gonna be very difficult for us to take those two months off of a construction that was already very tight.”
Szafnauer admits that the arrival of Aston Martin required “significant changes” in the construction of the factory.
“The good thing is that we have a large 12-hectare plot of land, and it was quite easy to change the look of it because everything was done on paper. We had to bring in over 100 more Aston Martin people – about 120 – and emulate the look and feel of their factory in Gaydon, because we want everything to be coordinated and aligned, and complement each other.”
“So all these changes were made and they weren’t trivial, but when you do them on paper before you start building, it’s still pretty easy to do and pretty easy to adjust.”
Szafnauer didn’t hesitate to talk about eventual victories when the announcement was made. A goal assumed and repeated.
“We’d like to fight against the top three, so either we settle into the top trio or we complete it to become a quartet, but that’s our goal at Aston Martin. To do the best job we can to get close to the top trio and race with them.”
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