Szafnauer aims to harness ‘extra energy’ with Vettel

Aston Martin CEO and team principal Otmar Szafnauer says that the team’s relaunch is much more than just a new name, title sponsor and livery, and that it’s the start of a new era for the former Racing Point squad.

“We believe we have all the ingredients in place to compete for even more podiums and hopefully victories too,” he said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday.

“It’s the start of a new journey and I can sense an extra energy in the team, with a determination to push performance further than ever before,” he added. “We have every reason to be excited about the future.”

A big part of Aston Martin’s plans is the signing of former Red Bull and Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel to partner Lance Stroll.

  • Read also: Stroll targets wins as Aston has ‘the weight to punch harder’

“It’s hugely exciting for everyone in the team. In Sebastian, we have a proven four-time world champion with experience of helping teams become race-winning and championship-contending outfits.

“That’s why he is such an important signing for us, he brings a winning mentality and we will all undoubtedly learn a lot from him on this journey.

“In Lance we have a young and talented, hard-working driver who enjoyed his best campaign to date last year and really made strides in all areas of his racing,” Szafnauer continued.

“We know if we give him the tools, he’s more than capable of helping the team reach its goals.

“We also think Sebastian will bring out the best in Lance, with Lance pushing Sebastian hard in return, so we’re delighted with our 2021 line-up. It’s the ideal blend of experience, race-winning knowhow, and raw talent.”

The team is coming off one of its best seasons including a race win at Sakhir and multiple podium finishes en route to fourth place in the constructors’ championship, despite incurring a 15 point penalty for copying elements of Mercedes’ car design too closely.

©AstonMartin

“Everybody involved should be extremely proud of that achievement,” said Szafnauer. “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.”

The team’s F1 DNA has its roots in the Jordan Grand Prix team that first raced in 1991. The squad was sold at the end of 2005 and briefly became Midland F1 Racing before a further sale saw it become Spyker F1 in 2007.

Indian businessman Vijay Mallya then bought the team and established it as Force India. A financial crisis saw it bought up by a consortium of investors in 2018 and given the interim name of Racing Point, before becoming Aston Martin at the start of 2021.

“We’re confident we can do the Aston Martin name proud right from the get-go,” said Szafnauer. “It might sound daunting but we’ve been competing in Formula 1 for 30 years, winning races and taking podiums along the way often against the odds.

“We’ve earned a well-deserved reputation for punching above our weight,” 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.”

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