Why Aston Martin's new F1 base marks a significant step

OPINION: The Aston Martin Formula 1 team has broken ground on a new campus that the team believes is an important step in its journey towards becoming a regular frontrunner. In an exclusive column, team owner Lawrence Stroll explains why the team's new base will amount to much more than a series of buildings

Why Aston Martin's new F1 base marks a significant step

I am old enough to remember the 1989 Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams, in which Costner plays an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball pitch in his cornfield that attracts the ghosts of legendary baseball players from the past.

It’s a hokey but fun movie – most memorably, however, it introduced the phrase, ‘If you build it, they will come’ into our cultural lexicon. It is the idea that – somehow, somewhere – by reaching out and creating something vital and inspiring, you can attract the right people into your world.

I set out to conceive Aston Martin Cognizant’s new Formula 1 factory with that concept in my mind.

We already have a fantastic team of people working together in a small but highly functional factory environment – but we want to improve that workspace. Too often, it feels as though we unnecessarily expend energy to accommodate the environment, and I want us to fix that, but without losing the unique esprit de corps that unifies us.

And that does not start with an architectural blueprint for a building. It starts with discussion groups; it starts with gaining an understanding for what our people want; what currently makes their jobs worthwhile; and what they might need to make them better.

We literally went around every department in the factory and dug deep to discover what worked, what did not work, and what was needed so that we could build the ultimate F1 team.

Aston Martin Campus

Aston Martin Campus

Photo by: Aston Martin Racing

A lot of that was obvious: bigger and better facilities, proximity to adjoining departments, more spaces in which to meet and communicate, ample car parking. But we also learned a lot more: people dedicate their lives to F1, and they need facilities that help them live happily and healthily within the workplace.

Only once we were armed with that vital information did we start speaking to architectural practices about bringing that disparate set of variables to life; about creating a factory and a home in which to house our people and their creativity.

The result, I hope you will agree, is spectacular. As well as giving people the state-of-the-art equipment and resources they need to work properly, we expanded our ideas to create the ultimate working environment.

The campus will house our brand-new windtunnel – the first time the team has ever had a best-in-class on-site aerodynamic facility – which will significantly increase our capacity to develop and refine our aero performance. For our technical team, it will be a huge and meaningful step forward

In the past 18 months, we have learned a lot about how people live and work. They take their work home with them, they bring their home life into work with them, so we wanted to reflect the changing balance of life and work; ultimately looking ahead to the ways we will be working 10 or 20 years from now.

We rethought the whole notion of a factory. We have created a collaborative, social workspace – one where departments can meet and talk; where ideas can cross-pollinate; and where free thinking is encouraged. We will still be laminating front wings – just like everybody else – but in a space that feels fresh, new and positive.

Elsewhere, we have incorporated a restaurant and a coffee shop that will serve fantastic, healthy meals – with input from nutritionists and dieticians – to provide the fuel for our ideas. We are landscaping outdoor recreation spaces, including a walking track and running circuit, and a fitness centre with state-of-the-art gym equipment, dedicated fitness trainers and opportunities for all our staff to exercise. I am a firm believer that providing opportunities for mental and physical health to everyone is not an optional extra, but a necessity that adds a sense of overall wellbeing and peace of mind to the entire workforce.

Lawrence Stroll, Owner, Aston Martin F1, Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO, Aston Martin F1, and Anthony Bamford, chairman of JCB

Lawrence Stroll, Owner, Aston Martin F1, Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO, Aston Martin F1, and Anthony Bamford, chairman of JCB

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Our offices are open-plan – featuring spaces that can be adapted as we grow: alongside desk space, we are also providing creative areas for meetings, small rooms for individual Zoom/Teams calls, and small hubs where handfuls of people can meet to work collaboratively. We will build filming and photographic studios so that our comms and marketing teams have the space to create professional-quality work for our fans and partners. That flexibility, I believe, is key to ensuring that we remain agile and adaptable in the years ahead.

In an additional building, we will also create an exhibition and innovation space – an area separate from the factory where we can host meetings and events for our partners, guests and staff – all created with that same philosophy of a flexible working space for all.

Finally, the campus will house our brand-new windtunnel – the first time the team has ever had a best-in-class on-site aerodynamic facility – which will significantly increase our capacity to develop and refine our aero performance. For our technical team, it will be a huge and meaningful step forward.

We are living in the era of data, and our new headquarters will benefit from comprehensive ‘smart factory’ connectivity. Cloud data will push our supply-chains along, autonomously power our machining and production processes, and regulate and optimise our entire working environment. To that, we are indebted to our title partner Cognizant, who are working hand-in-glove with our developers to ensure that we will have the most advanced digital infrastructure in the world.

Despite all our efforts to transform Aston Martin Cognizant digitally and physically, one message is always clear: a building is only as great as the people within it. As such, we are creating a great home for our great people, and we are actively scouting for more.

If you like what you hear, and you are determined to win in whatever sector you work in, come and talk to us. We are thinking ahead, as you are too, and we can do it together.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Previous article

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Next article

Former McLaren boss Whitmarsh to return to F1 with Aston Martin

Former McLaren boss Whitmarsh to return to F1 with Aston Martin
Load comments
The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin Prime

The details that boosted Verstappen and held back Hamilton in Austin

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon in Texas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement Prime

Why a misunderstood Kimi Raikkonen will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man Anthony Peacock explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it).

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021