Former F1 driver Marc Surer fears Aston Martin are at a “huge disadvantage” by moving factories mid-season, interrupting their “rhythm” in doing so.
The team announced on Tuesday that the majority of their staff members worked their first day in their all-new offices at their newly-constructed Silverstone base, with team owner Lawrence Stroll having invested heavily in getting a new base prepared for the team’s staff.
Aston Martin have had a flying start to the 2023 season and have perhaps been the surprise package of the year so far, moving up from seventh in the pecking order to second as it stands, with Fernando Alonso having taken five podiums in six races.
But while the office move is only a matter of metres for those who work at the team, with the new Silverstone base being just a stone’s throw from their former building – built originally to house Jordan in 1991 – ex-F1 driver Surer believes such a move will interrupt the team’s flow in the midst of a busy season so far.
“That can only be a disadvantage because the whole rhythm, the whole flow is disturbed,” Surer told Formel1.de.
“We have such a full programme in Formula 1, all the analyses and all the processing and also the parts production […] have to go on non-stop.
“The factory move, to me, is a huge disadvantage for them.”
Aston Martin factory move a huge statement of intent, and much-needed for their progress
Having had the chance to visit the new Aston Martin factory while it was still under construction last winter, the team were at pains to make it clear just how much they needed this new base to be put in place – with much of their operation still being run out of the original buildings from when the team was set up as Jordan over 30 years ago.
With their huge recruitment drive and the investment that has been made in the team in the past couple of years, what is clear is that they had outgrown their previous facilities at Silverstone and this first move into ‘Building 1’ (of three) for the majority of the team’s staff, on schedule, is something for which staff members will have been preparing themselves for some time.
And it is also hard to describe just how much the new factory completely dwarfs their previous building, with brand-new facilities to match and an emphasis on open-plan office spaces to try and create a dynamic working environment within the team.
Buildings 2 and 3 will house an all-new wind tunnel and simulator and will all be inter-connected, with the wind tunnel due for completion next year, and while Surer is likely to be correct in that it will take a bit of getting used to for office staff to get used to their new environment in the short term, Aston Martin have reached a massive milestone in their plans for the future and it’s tough to see how it will be much of a disadvantage in the long run.