Aston explain U-turn on Mercedes wind tunnel

Henry Valantine
Aston Martin driver and team owner Sebastian Vettel and Lawrence Stroll at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard June 2021.

Sebastian Vettel and Lawrence Stroll walking through the paddock at the French Grand Prix. Paul Ricard June 2021.

Aston Martin boss Lawrence Stroll has said his team need to use their own facilities to gain their own success, rather than relying on others.

There had been an agreement in place between Aston Martin and Mercedes which allowed the Silverstone team to share the wind tunnel of the reigning World Champions.

Alongside the substantial investment Stroll is making into creating a wider Performance Technologies group – which they have hired former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh to lead – the billionaire is also paying out for significant infrastructural changes at the team, to expand their staff in the hope of competing for titles.

With that in mind, the team have since decided to back out of the agreement with Mercedes in order to develop their own aerodynamic tools.

“In order to be able to fight consistently for World Championships, we also need our own wind tunnel – another great expense, a cost of well over £150million, and we’ve already started on the process,” Stroll said to Autocar.

“Andy [Green, chief technical officer] changed his mind [on the agreement]. He came back to me and said: ‘Look, I realise there’s upside potential on the times and availability we currently have using Mercedes’ tunnel. But if you really want to be World Champion, it’s a tool we’re going to need.’

“It cost a bit of money, that change of mind. I was happy with his first concept.”

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Stroll’s arrival into Formula 1 has seen him invest vast amounts of money into improving the Silverstone-based team, which has long been seen as a team which out-performed its resources in its guises as Racing Point, Force India and Jordan.

Now that the team is increasing its presence and adding to its arsenal, Stroll was asked if he is a ‘disruptor’ in Formula 1.

“There are obviously a lot of very strong personalities and smart people in F1. If you’re going to be a push-around, for want of a better word, I don’t think you’re going to succeed in this or any other sport,” said the businessman.

“I don’t know if I’ve been a disruptor. I’ve stood for what I believe to be correct. I’ve not made this significant investment not to be fighting for World Championships.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes within the rules, obviously, and by being a gentleman.

“I don’t think we’ve done anything that any other team wouldn’t to try to build a fantastic organisation. And I speak out when I think something is wrong.”