Q&A with Lawrence Stroll: Aston Martin F1 team gearing up for 2021
"We will do the Aston Martin name proud"
Aston Martin’s return to Formula 1 is confirmed. The 2021 season will see one of the greatest car brands, Aston Martin, return to the grid as a works F1 team, continuing to operate from its base in Silverstone.
On Monday 30th of March, the shareholders of Aston Martin Lagonda approved a £536m fundraising, underpinned by an injection of £260m of new capital from Yew Tree Consortium - a group of investors led by Lawrence Stroll. As part of this investment Mr Stroll will become Executive Chairman of Aston Martin and Aston Martin will create its own works F1 racing team.
The benefits of a return to the pinnacle of motorsport are clear. There is no better way to build the Aston Martin brand globally, and to engage with its customer base, than to have a successful works team in Formula 1. The sport demands excellence in design and engineering, and relentless innovation, much of which will be shared with the engineering and development teams at Gaydon and will progressively be incorporated into the future generations of cars, particularly the planned range of mid-engine cars.
That work is about to be underway with engineering teams and working groups being established to lay the foundations for the success of the team, the development of the cars and the building of the brand globally.
The whole of Formula 1 has come to a temporary halt due to Covid-19. In the UK many teams have come together in Project Pitlane, to develop and build new ventilators as swiftly as possible. As well as taking steps to protect their staff, the planning for next season is underway and we will be keeping you up to date with developments in the months ahead as the Aston Martin F1 team roars into life.
Lawrence, events have developed quickly over the last few months, but you must be delighted to have officially completed the process…
“The process of investing in this wonderful car brand has required all of my attention and energy for a number of months. There were certainly some sleepless nights. At the same time, it has been one of the most exciting deals in which I’ve ever been involved. Cars are my passion, a huge part of my life, and Aston Martin has always had a special place in my heart. To stand here today and announce that the agreement is finalised is a huge privilege and one of the proudest moments of my career. With all the paperwork completed, I can focus my attention on implementing the strategy to make this fantastic brand even more successful in the years ahead.”
Formula 1 is an important part of the strategy and you have confirmed the Racing Point team will be known as Aston Martin F1 Team from 2021…
“A brand with the pedigree and history of Aston Martin needs to be competing at the highest level of motorsport. I think it’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in recent memory in Formula 1 and it’s incredibly exciting for all stakeholders in the sport, especially the fans. I can’t think of a better name for a Formula 1 team. Our investment strategy places Formula 1 as a central pillar of the global marketing strategy, and it makes perfect sense to rebrand Racing Point for this purpose. Aston Martin has been competing very successfully in various classes of motorsport throughout its history, but we now have an opportunity to create a works team in Formula 1. The global spotlight of Formula 1 is second to none and we will leverage this reach to showcase the Aston Martin brand in our key markets.”
You’re also keen to leverage the technology of F1 competition for the Aston Martin road cars…
“This is another important part of the strategy. Not only does Formula 1 help elevate the brand, it opens up the opportunity for technology cross-over. I’m incredibly excited to see what technology can filter down from the racing programme into the road cars. This will be particularly relevant for the mid-engine road cars that will be launched in the future. There will be a genuine collaboration to ensure that our road cars share the DNA of our success on the track as well.”
What is likely to change at Silverstone over the coming 12 months?
“The group of men and women at Silverstone are true racers and their determination and spirit is one of the main reasons I invested in the Formula 1 team. After 30 years, they deserve this opportunity to represent this legendary brand. We are continuing to invest in the team to give everybody the resources required and we will see the benefit of those efforts this year as Racing Point. With the Aston name comes more pressure and expectation. We will need to be competitive from the outset. But I have no doubt the team at Silverstone will rise to the challenge and do the Aston Martin name proud.”
The coronavirus pandemic presents difficult times for the whole world. How is this impacting on plans for 2021?
“I don’t think there is any area of life or business that hasn’t been touched by this devastating pandemic and the racing community is certainly adapting as best it can. Of course, as racers, we are all very frustrated not to be competing, but we all understand the bigger picture in this global fight and so we stay at home. The team is also supporting Project Pitlane to help accelerate the production of ventilators. In the meantime, we can rely on video conferences to keep our plans for 2020 and 2021 moving forward. I am committed to Formula 1 with a long-term vision and this is just a temporary pause in the journey.”
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