Aston Martin called their new F1 factory a “game-changer” and a “world-class” facility. It was supposed to open to employees fully in May 2023. After taking a tour of the site on Friday, it’s hard to disagree with that description.
Everyone can see Aston Martin’s goals for Formula One. Proprietor Lawrence Walk has not been modest in siphoning the funds into the group and saying they are on a five-year excursion to be in the title battle toward the finish of 2025, an enormous proclamation of goal when you see who they’ll need to update.
In fact, they are clearly not where they want to be after finishing in P7 in 2022. However, they made strong progress in the second half of the previous season and keeping that momentum while adding the brilliant Fernando Alonso and what will likely be the most impressive set of facilities in Formula 1 for 2023 could help them reach their goals for the following year.
We were fortunate enough to participate in a media tour of the factory site on Friday to begin experiencing the Silverstone-based team’s workspace, led by Project Manager Guy Austin.
With three buildings planned for the site, Austin is extremely knowledgeable, having managed numerous motorsport factory and wind tunnel builds.
This must be one of the most exciting; the main factory, a place for employees to use amenities like the gym or canteen, and a wind tunnel. Given that Aston is currently using Mercedes, Aston will be extremely pleased about this.
An F1 team’s own wind tunnel is huge, and Technical Director Dan Fallows made no secret of how impressive and crucial it will be to Aston’s progress in a later speech:
It will without a doubt be a facility of the highest caliber.
And it is evidently very important to have 24/7 access to that in case of emergency. Run availability due to aerodynamic testing restrictions decreases as we improve our wind tunnel. We wouldn’t be spending as much time in the tunnel, you know.
“However, having your own facility enables you to conduct additional experiments, which is invaluable. Additionally, given that we share the tunnel with another team, we don’t always have the option to do so.
The wind tunnel itself is expected to open in the middle of 2024, but “building one” (on the left), the building we looked at on Friday, should be fully operational in time for employees to move in over a weekend in May of next year. The fixtures and furnishings are expected to start appearing in the early stages of 2023.
Despite the fact that “building one” is a vast space, it is still a tremendously impressive site even before the neater details have been added. Sections devoted to the car’s partial construction will be on the ground floor, and offices for Stroll, Martin Whitmarsh, and the chief technical staff will be on the first floor.
The prerequisite for an open-plan office was clear, as well, and you can see that illustrated, with light pouring in through colossal windows and very little in the method of interior walls while moving around the site, especially on the primary floor.