Stroll: New Aston Martin factory ‘the reverse’ of McLaren’s MTC
Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll says the F1 outfit’s future state-of-the-art factory that broke ground last week will embody a vision opposite that of McLaren’s Technology Center.
Upon Stroll’s takeover along with a consortium of investors of Force India in 2018, the Canadian billionaire devised a significant investment plan to equip the Silverstone-based outfit with a new facility and campus.
The team’s $150m-$200m project – the start of which was delayed due to the global pandemic – is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 or in the early part of 2023.
The 37.000 square meter campus that will include a three-unit factory housing the team’s manufacturing facility and its new wind tunnel will measure up to Stroll’s ambitions of taking Aston Martin to the top of the grid in F1.
However, where McLaren’s famous and spectacular Norman Foster-designed MTC put the emphasis on aesthetics and modernity when it was designed, Stroll says that streamlined efficiency and units "fit for purpose" have guided Aston’s functional vision of its new home.
"This is the reverse of what Ron Dennis did with Norman Foster, with the McLaren Technology Centre," Stroll said during the new facility’s ground-breaking ceremony.
"This is a business, this is factories and a campus fit for purpose to match the DNA and the culture of ourselves, of our history.
"The purpose, what it’s been built for is to be able to be efficient, and to be streamlined, and again have everybody sitting side-by-side under one roof.
"This is taking into consideration the new financial regulations, and also taking into consideration where we believe this sport will be going in the future.
"So we can build more bays if we want, we can shrink too: but not by shrinking the size of the building, but moving people closer together. This is a building that will truly represent our image, our culture and our DNA."
Stroll made clear that Aston Martin’s new factory tool is a necessary investment that supports the outfit’s ambitions in F1.
"With the current factory, it would have really been difficult," he said. "We’re right now adding these temporary offices, little buildings that you put down on the ground to house the constantly growing workforce we have.
"The communication isn’t the best because everybody’s dislocated all around various parts of the factory. So, the improvement in communications and research development, in design, it was a necessity.
"We could not continue to grow, to the headcount I want to grow to, with the existing premises. Not possible."
The Aston Martin team’s original foundation was laid in the early nineties by Eddie Jordan and his original Jordan Grand Prix outfit, with the team going through several iterations – Midland, Spyker, Force India – before landing under Stroll’s providential ownership.
The scale of funding provided by the Canadian points to Stroll’s ambitions, but also to his long-term commitment to the team and his quest for success.
"This is a long-term investment," he said. "No offence to any of my predecessors, none of them have my history or the track record of the successes I had.
"I’m clearly passionate about this. This is a great business opportunity. I see Formula 1, as a business value of each individual team, significantly appreciating in the years to come.
"It’s not any different to any other sports assets, if you look at an NFL football team for example. Ten years ago, an NFL football team was worth a billion dollars, but today you can’t buy a franchise for less than $4 or $5 billion. So this is a long term plan.
"This is something I plan on being involved with, because I’m still a young man, I believe I am at least, for many, many years to come. You don’t make this kind of investment, and this plan, to retreat in any way, shape or form."
Having a successful and ambitious billionaire at the helm ready to put his money where his mouth won’t guarantee championship wins. But, along with a vision and strong leadership, it provides a solid foundation on which to build a successful long-term project.
"I think money always talks very loud, doesn’t it? And It will continue to," he said.
"We all know about the budget cap, and we also are all very realistic of all these exclusions, not included in the budget cap.
"For us, this campus was long overdue. Again covid costs us two years, otherwise we’d already be completed, or close to completion.
"But in order to compete to win, which is what I am here for, this tool is 100 percent needed.
"What you need to win, is you need the right leadership and vision, which I believe I bring. You need the finances to be able to afford it, you need the best people in the industry, and you need to give them the best tools and processes.
"We already have a lot of great people, but this is delivering the tools and the processes in order to recruit the ones we don’t have.
"Plus I can give them my guidance, and the senior management team’s guidance and leadership, in order to fulfil all of our dreams."
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September 14, 2021 at 09:18AM