Aston Martin is still establishing quite a “unified clarity of purpose” as it tries to become a major force in Formula 1 according to technical director Dan Fallows, who hopes his move from Red Bull will help the team realize its ambitions.
Fallows finally managed to make an earlier-than-expected move to Aston Martin in April, having been put on gardening leave at Red Bull in June last year.
He has been embroiled in a court case with his former team in which it emerged he tried to quit – which Red Bull rejected – when he was reassigned to a non-F1 job at Red Bull Technologies.
Speaking for the first time since his move in an interview published on the Aston Martin F1 website, Fallows said he felt he had a chance “to be part of something going from being something mediocre to something amazing” by moving to Aston, and he said he had shown “serious ambition”. .
“The most striking thing for me is that Aston Martin Formula 1 still feels like a racing team – everyone is so supportive of each other,” said Fallows.
“When a team grows significantly in a very short period of time it can become difficult and the divisions are not talking to each other properly. But the lines of communication are very simple and clear here – we need to make sure we don’t lose that.
“The high quality of the people we have in the Aston Martin F1 really impressed me. The engineering talent is really at the level it needs to be – great ideas, really good creativity.
“Everything there was no unified clarity of purpose – and that’s what I hope to help achieve. It’s all about keeping an eye on what you’re trying to achieve on the racetrack, right from the start of the car design.”
Aston Martin caused a stir when it arrived at the Spanish Grand Prix in May with a substantial update package for the AMR22 that has many similar features to the 2022 Red Bull RB18.
Fallows insisted he had “absolutely nothing” to do with this and that the update had already been designed before it arrived.
He added that by the time Aston’s current technical team arrived “it had already concluded that they needed to pursue an alternative design solution” to the one with which the season began.
“I totally understand why the team is doing this,” he said of the Spanish GP upgrade package.
“The car has always been designed with two concepts in mind and from very early on the feeling was that it was going in the wrong direction.
“The decision to switch actually helped me accelerate more quickly: I understood more about the concept we presented at the Spanish Grand Prix than I did about the previous one.”
Aston Martin is currently ninth in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship, and although it has scored points in eight of the last 10 races, it has struggled to make up for the AlphaTauri and Haas teams directly ahead of them.
It marked the Silverstone-based team’s worst finish since 2009, when Force India finished ninth with 13 points.
Fallows said the team expects its 2023 car to be “much more competitive than this year’s car,” and added that he was “confident we can take a huge step forward with the AMR23.”
Asked how to be sure of progress, Fallows said: “Because when I look around the car there are areas for improvement everywhere.
“We have literally hundreds of projects on the go right now.
“In the aerodynamics department, in the design office, in research and development, across the team, people found improvements, whether it was weight improvements, stiffness improvements, driver control improvements, better aerodynamics, a more stable car platform — All of this will bring performance to the car.”
But he stressed that reaching the favorite on a regular basis would take the team years to achieve.
“We are incredibly ambitious about shortening the timelines to get to where we want to be, but there is a huge difference between becoming the leading midfield team and seriously challenging for race and championship victories,” he said.