Lawrence Stroll says Aston Martin will have to wait for Formula 1 titles
Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll expects it to be another four or five years before his team can realize their ambition to fight for the F1 title.
Stroll started the year expecting Aston to take a step forward after winning a race last year, but they sit sixth in the championship after nine races.
“I don’t think we can expect to win for another four or five years,” he said.
The Canadian billionaire is in a restructuring operation which will see its workforce increase from 500 to 800 employees.
Stroll has hired Red Bull aerodynamics chief Dan Fallows to be Aston Martin’s new technical director, although his current squad say he will not be able to join Aston Martin “in the next two years”.
This is just one of a series of high-profile new signings – and Stroll says another will be announced this week.
Resigned to a loss of competitiveness
Stroll changed the name of his team from Racing Point to Aston Martin after taking over the famous British sports car brand last year. This weekend will be the first time that an Aston Martin has entered the British Grand Prix since 1959.
The team finished fourth in the constructors’ championship last season and Stroll aimed at least a notch higher in 2021.
But the team have found themselves hit harder by a rule change for this season than most other teams.
They and Mercedes, whose Aston Martin car copies, execute a different design concept than any other team. This uses a low front-to-back angle – known as low lean – compared to other cars, including the championship-leading Red Bull, which pioneered the opposing “high lean” philosophy.
Mercedes and Aston Martin lost more performance compared to last year than any other team except the Haas rear, after a rule change that cut off part of the rear floor to keep speeds up. turn under control.
Stroll opposed the rule change and initially tried to overturn it, but has now resigned himself to it.
“This year has been a very controversial year with the ground breaking with the aero rules,” Stroll said at a press conference ahead of the British Grand Prix.
“You’re all smart enough to see that the two low-bank cars lost about a second per lap. So it’s no coincidence that Mercedes are fighting for a championship that they have won easily for many years.
“The rule change that severely penalized us and Mercedes is the reason for the decline in performance from this year to last.”
Stroll has defended his own approach to competition which some rivals see as bullish.
“There are a lot of strong personalities and smart people in F1,” he said. “If you’re going to be pushed around, I don’t think you’ll be successful in this sport or any other.
“I stood up for what I think is correct. I haven’t made a significant investment in this business so as not to fight for the world championships, so we’re going to do whatever we can in the rules to be successful. “
A change of plan
Next year F1 introduces a whole new set of technical rules aimed at closing the field, but Stroll believes Aston Martin still needs time to get into the lead.
“My track record in just about every other business I own is winning,” Stroll said. “In F1 that obviously means world championships. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re looking for.
“Of course, we all know that success in F1 or any other business doesn’t come overnight. It takes years to have the right people, the right tools and the right processes in place.
“But we are building and investing in our team with the ambition to step up on the grid year after year and our ultimate ambition is to win world championships.”
Part of the team’s growth program is to move to a new factory next year and build their own wind tunnel, an aerodynamic design tool.
Aston Martin had originally planned to share the Mercedes tunnel, believing that the restrictions in the rules meant it “made no sense” to have theirs.
But Stroll said his technical director Andrew Green had changed his mind on the matter.
“He came back to me and said, ‘I realized there was an upside potential on the times and uptime that we currently have by using Mercedes to have the luxury of having ours.
“And he said: ‘If you really want to be the world champion, this is a tool that we are going to need.’ It cost me a lot of money, this change of mind. I was happy with his first concept. “
Confidence in the roster of pilots
Aston Martin’s roster is made up of quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, who joined this year, and Stroll’s son Lance.
Stroll said he had no doubts about Lance’s ability to compete at the forefront.
“I think Lance did an amazing job,” Stroll said. ” He is 22 years old. Its performances, whether [being] on pole or several podiums. He’s competing this year with Sebastian, they’re probably tied. So I have no worries or feelings that Lance is lacking in performance.
“As he gets older he will get more experience, and as he gets more experience he will get stronger.”
Stroll admitted that Vettel, who joined after two difficult last years at Ferrari where he was outmatched by teammate Charles Leclerc, had made a ‘slow start’ to the 2021 season, but added: ‘He’s doing a great job now. . “