Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer has conceded the transition from Racing Point has not been easy, but with it comes big opportunities to become a “top team”.
When Racing Point formally announced in January 2020 they were to change their name to that of the historic British car brand, they probably expected a couple of challenges along the way – but the world’s current situation could not have been anticipated.
Big changes were planned, including the building of a new factory base at Silverstone to allow the team to move out of their existing facility which was built in the 1980s. Those plans were soon halted though amid the global health pandemic.
With the transition also sees the integration of key components such as personnel and technology, which takes a lot of time and adjustment.
They also still had the matter of a Formula 1 season to focus on too, and certainly managed to maintain their attention as they had their greatest season yet in 2020.
Racing Point finished P4 in the constructors’ World Championship with Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll achieving four podium finishes between them, including one each at the Sakhir Grand Prix won by the Mexican.
Reflecting on the period, team principal Szafnauer said, quoted by Motorsport.com: “It’s been a mammoth task. It’s easy to forget we’ve been putting the groundwork in place for a brand new era alongside a very challenging global setting, all the while balancing those tasks with our most successful F1 season to date – including a race win and multiple podium finishes en route to fourth place in the constructors’ Championship.
“Everyone involved should be extremely proud of that achievement and I think it demonstrates that while this is a new team name and identity, we have retained the strong backbone that has guided us through some tough times to where we are today.”
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) January 7, 2021
With their achievements last season, the newly-branded Aston Martin team will hope to maintain what worked so well for them in 2020 and take it into the new season.
One thing we know for sure will change, though, is the men taking to the grid, with four-time former World Champion Sebastian Vettel joining Stroll in place of Red Bull-bound Perez.
With that line-up, Szafnauer is hopeful Aston Martin will soon be seen as a formidable Formula 1 team.
He added: “While the challenge was once establishing ourselves as the most efficient team on the grid, now there’s an exciting opportunity to establish ourselves as a top team while still maintaining that efficiency in order to add an exciting chapter to the Aston Martin legacy.”