‘Lost golden opportunity’ prompts Aston Martin into new cost cap push

Henry Valantine
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso on track at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso on track at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Aston Martin have revealed their push for a standardised gearbox in Formula 1, to help ease the cost cap burden on teams.

Aston Martin are currently in the process of designing their own transmission in time to partner up with Honda from the 2026 season onwards, but engineering director Luca Furbatto has revealed the team are facing “stiff opposition” from their rivals over standardising the part.

All 10 teams were found to have complied with the 2022 cost cap in Formula 1, but inflationary pressures will tighten budgets even further from next year and penny-pinching is likely to take place for teams to comply again next season.

Aston Martin suggest standardised gearboxes to aid F1 cost cap strain

Aston Martin currently get their gearboxes supplied by Mercedes, but are in the process of developing their own as they prepare to partner with Honda in a factory power unit deal from the next technical regulations reset in 2026.

While it is seen as a landmark in the team’s progression to add another factory name on the grid, along with Audi joining the sport in the same year when their majority takeover of Sauber is complete, the expense of the gearbox programme at Aston Martin cannot be underestimated.

Team principal Mike Krack estimated earlier this year that the team are investing are between $8-9million (up to £7.4m) per year into the development, and each gearbox unit in Formula 1 can cost up to an estimated $350,000 (£288,000) to manufacture.

With teams allowed to use eight gearboxes across the season as per the regulations, this estimate would make the cost per team at least $2.8m (£2.31m) on a vital car part, before any are used beyond their allocation for damage or unreliability.

Aston Martin believe standardising gearboxes, or at least making them simpler, will help bring costs down for the teams, but they have been met with opposition to such a move.

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“We’re pushing for a standardised gearbox because it makes financial sense in a cost cap environment but we are facing stiff opposition,” Furbatto told Aston Martin’s official website.

“Realistically it’s not going to happen any time soon. It’s possible the FIA may reach something of a middle ground, with the design becoming a little more prescribed, lighter and simplified.

“I suspect we will look back in a few years and conclude that we lost a golden opportunity to reduce costs within the transmission area.

“It is something that the fans cannot see, the technology is the same between all teams and brings very little performance.

“The money saved on transmission could be repurposed towards aero development, which is currently the only way to compress the grid and improve the show.”

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