Aston Martin says it is targeting to be competing for the Formula 1 world championship within three to five years after the launch of the AMR21.
The former Racing Point squad has rebranded over the winter under the Aston Martin name to mark the British manufacturer’s return to F1 for the first time since 1960.
Unveiling its 2021 challenger in the famous British Racing Green colours, team principal Otmar Szafnauer spoke of the Silverstone-based outfit’s five-year plan to be a title-winning F1 team.
“It’s a lot easier to say we’re going to be fighting and winning a world championship than actually doing it,” Szafnauer said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“The two things that have to happen is one we need a good plan, in order for us to start today and get to world championship contenders, and then we’ve got to execute. And we’re in the midst of that planning now.
“The execution will definitely take some time. People in F1 and other teams have said you know you’ve got to give us three to five years to do so. And we’re no different.
“For the last year we’ve planned a new factory with new infrastructure, and a place to house all of us under one roof to grow the team, and the implementation of that has just now begun at Silverstone.
“Towards the end of 2022, we should be moving into a new factory for example, and within that factory we’re going to need state of the art tools that will help us design and develop a car that’s worthy of contending for a world championship, so that’s a few years away.
“If I have to look into the future, you know it’ll be in the three to five year time period.”
Aston Martin’s recruitment of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is one of the big talking points going into the 2021 season, with the German brining race-winning pedigree to the team.
Speaking about Aston Martin’s five-year plan, Vettel felt it was a realistic target given the time it took current F1 champions Mercedes to build itself into the dominant force it is now.
“I think it is a longer-term project if you really want to win,” Vettel said. “Obviously if you look at Mercedes, they started somewhere, 2011, ’12, and then really got into the winning ways with the new power unit when they just got out of the gates a lot faster than anyone else.
“The car wasn’t really that great in 2014, chassis-wise. And from then onwards, if you say ’11, then it took them another five years to really build a car that was probably considered the best chassis. That’s the time it takes. But then everybody has that time, and not everybody has done the job.
“So there are a lot of projects going around, different manufacturers, and in the end only one can win. But Mercedes has been the one that has been the strongest. So hats off to them, and the others were just not good enough.”
Vettel believes the new regulations from 2022 could see Aston Martin in contention for titles earlier than it is expecting.
“Formula 1 is changing at the same time, so time will tell,” he said. “But maybe you don’t need those three to five years anymore.
“Maybe it will shrink, and that’s the hope for everyone, to be a bit closer to the top and not just be on the podium because you got lucky that the guys at the front retired or crashed. We’ll see how Formula 1 changes in the next years.”