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Aston Martin headhunts Mercedes aero chief Blandin

Mercedes Formula 1 team chief aerodynamicist Eric Blandin is the latest big name to be hired by Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Blandin is still working at Brackley and is not expected to join his new team until October next year, after he has completed his gardening leave.

His appointment comes as a surprise as he is the first key player to be headhunted from Mercedes, the power unit and gearbox supplier to Aston Martin.

An Aston spokesperson told Motorsport.com: “We can confirm that Eric Blandin will begin working for Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team next year. His exact start date is not yet confirmed. The transition from Mercedes AMG F1 Team to ourselves will be an amicable one.”

The team has not specified what his role or job title will be.

Frenchman Blandin began his career at Italian wind tunnel concern Fondmetal Technologies in 1998, before moving to Jaguar Racing as an aerodynamicist in 2002.

He stayed with the Milton Keynes team through its transition to Red Bull Racing, becoming aero team leader before leaving at the end of 2009.

During that period he worked with Dan Fallows, who is leaving Red Bull to become Aston’s technical director by the start of next season.

From January 2010 Blandin spent 14 months as aero team leader at Ferrari before joining Mercedes in May 2011 as principal aerodynamicist. He was promoted to the role of chief aerodynamicist in September 2017.

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Eric Blandin on the podium as Mercedes' team representative after Valtteri Bottas' win in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix

Eric Blandin on the podium as Mercedes' team representative after Valtteri Bottas' win in the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Blandin joins a long list of high profile Aston Martin recruits as Stroll continues to build up his team and make it a genuine title contender.

In addition to future technical director Fallows other key hires include engineering director Luca Furbatto, who was previously with Alfa Romeo, and head of technical operations Andrew Alessi, who comes from Red Bull.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer recently made it clear that Aston Martin was still hiring as it prepared to challenge for the World Championship.

"Things haven't slowed down in the recruitment,” he said. “But unless they're very senior, we don't we don't announce everybody. We've hired over 150 people this year, and we will continue to hire.

“If we want to win a world championship in four years’ time it does take human resource, infrastructure, factory, wind tunnel, just like the top teams, and we're on that trajectory to do that.”

Szafnauer indicated that Furbatto will start soon: “Luca will be with us within weeks. Yes, he was announced. But you know, just like everybody they've got their notice periods. So within weeks, Luca will be free to start with us.”

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