Why Stroll calls Aston Martin’s multi-year Cognizant tie-up a “Lawrence-star” deal

2021 F1 season

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Aston Martin F1 team owner Lawrence Stroll says their new title sponsorship deal with IT firm Cognizant reflects his desire to align the luxury car manufacturer with “titans of industry”.

The team, which competed until last year as Racing Point, revealed their new sponsor and partner today. Stroll inked the multi-year deal following the end of last season.

“With this deal today, what we wanted to do in returning Aston Martin to the grid is do everything the way I only do things,” Stroll explained in an interview with select media including RaceFans.

“Which is there’s ‘five star’ and then there’s ‘Lawrence-star’. I want to have relationships and associations with titans of industry, best of class.”

Stroll’s notable hirings to date have made good on that boast. They include four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel and new communications director Matt Bishop, a paddock veteran who spent a decade in charge of McLaren’s media department.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Racing Point triumphed in Sakhir Grand Prix
Last year the team achieved remarkable results with its RP20. Modelled closely on the previous year’s championship-winning Mercedes – indeed, slightly too closely for the stewards’ liking – it was the only car besides Red Bull’s RB16 to beat the champions to both a pole position and a victory.

The RP20 was the first car developed entirely since Stroll bought the assets of the former Force India team in mid-2018 and ploughed badly-needed funds into a beleaguered outfit that had long punched above its weight. Stroll explained how the Cognizant deal will accelerate the development of the car’s Aston Martin-branded successor.

“IT is the future of Formula 1,” said Stroll. “It’s the Internet of Things, it’s cloud computing, it’s digital engineering, it’s data analysis, it’s AI. We’re building a new factory, I want it to be a smart factory, 5G. The most important partner one can have in Formula 1 today to make a true contribution to the team is an IT partner.”

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Ever-tighter restrictions on testing – teams will have just three days’ running pre-season this year – puts a premium on rapid gathering and analysis of data.

“How good are you? Well, how fast can you figure out that data after first practice to change the car for second practice, et cetera?

“So we focussed on first finding the strongest digital partner in the world. We knocked on a lot of doors. One of them, in America, Cognizant, is known as one of the most respected and greatest companies in the Fortune couple of hundred. It was just a match made in heaven. I don’t know how to say it any more.”

Stroll met Cognizant CEO Brian Humphries near their homes in Switzerland to finalise the deal. Humphries “totally understood” what a presence in Formula 1 could do for his company, said Stroll.

“He said ‘Lawrence, I need to associate myself with winners. A: With you, Lawrence, first. B: Aston Martin, the brand, it just doesn’t get any better. I need to have more global reach. I want to grow my business outside of the United States’.

“To grow his business it’s C-suite executives, it’s not necessarily a beer-drinking crowd if you feel what I mean.”

Humphries said Aston Martin “really ticked all the boxes for us” as a partner. “It’s a legendary brand, it’s admired globally, it’s innovative. And in some ways, therefore, I felt we were joining good company in doing this.”

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Stroll’s track record “speaks for itself, obviously, in other industries”, added Humphries. “He’s got a lot of ambition for this venture and I personally have a lot of ambition for Cognizant and was really enthused that he really wants to take Aston Martin road company and Aston Martin Formula 1 company to the next level.”

Humphries wanted Cognizant to be more than just a sponsor of the team. “I didn’t want to be a tiny logo on a car, one of 20 stickers,” he said. Stroll sees the deal as “much more a partnership than a sponsorship”. The company has already begun integrating within the Aston Martin operation and working with technical director Andrew Green to bring the benefit of its expertise.

“Clearly, they are our title sponsor and this is the largest, I think, commercial transaction that’s happened in this sport’s space in recent years,” said Stroll. “It is a huge multi-year partnership.

“A big part of that is what they’re going to do to help us in the whole world of IT, starting with the Formula 1 team and focus on that. They’ve already been speaking for a couple of weeks, their engineers, with Andy Green and our people back at the factory. And there’s already a whole list and plans of things they can give us.

“The first one we’re focussed on is data. How to help us understand much quicker the data we’re getting off the car. Which is something we were looking to buy from an IT firm. In this case, of course, being our partner they’ll be supplying things like that to us. So it’s going to happen immediately.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 39 comments on “Why Stroll calls Aston Martin’s multi-year Cognizant tie-up a “Lawrence-star” deal”

    1. Stroller Sr is a visionary businessman.

      Now Force India carry a great car brand and having their own mission control room.

        1. I thought you meant indeed ‘stroller’.
          That’s what we call it when parents buy a transport device on wheels to carry their children.

    2. Yes. Let’s cram in as many IT buzzwords I can think of in a sentence. Good chance it makes me sound like I know what I’m saying. …

      I’m missing ‘automation’ so no Lawrence, no full marks from me

      1. I hope the eyeballs of Racing Point’s current IT people don’t roll out of their sockets.

      2. He also missed ‘blockchain’, and where’s ‘digital twin’ ffs? Come on, Lawrence, you need ALL the buzzwords!

    3. He’s better than the best, might as well announce himself as the second coming. Well, F1 is making a great villain of him. All in the name of the show right?

    4. How humble of him to say so.

      1. Hahaha and his ‘best of class’ is already down the drain given his driver line-up. So he is definitely not very consistent

    5. everything, whatever it takes for Lance to be champion.
      …meanwhile, in the process, I think he’s having fun.

      1. Well, if he succeeds in making Lance WDC, then he earns the right to blabla around. It is not impossible. Just the right car and a weaker teammate. He already has the latter

        1. Agreed, people will be shocked when Stroll outperforms Vettel next season but I sure as hell won’t. Vettel’s past two seasons have been nothing but horrible driving.

      1. wow there’s quite a lot of stuff in there

      2. Whoa thats juicy! That Cognizant title sponsorship sound a deal cut for Vijay! Or this Stroll Sr is just as fishy as the previous owner.

        1. All billionaires are fishy. Otherwise they’d be poor.

      3. Lawrence star indeed. Quote from the wikipedia article mentioned by @g-funk

        The Verge published a follow-up investigation of Cognizant’s Tampa, Florida, office in June 2019.[137][138] … In the Tampa office, workers reported bed bugs, unsanitary work conditions, inadequate mental health resources, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and theft.[137][142] As a result of exposure to videos depicting graphic violence, animal abuse, and child sexual abuse, some employees developed psychological trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder.[137][143] Cognizant sanitized the office before The Verge’s visit, a practice the publication described as a “dog-and-pony-show phenomenon”.[137] In response to negative coverage related to its content moderation contracts, a Facebook director indicated that Facebook is in the process of developing a “global resiliency team” that would assist its contractors.[137]

        The future looks bright.

    6. All billionaires are fishy. Otherwise they’d be poor.

      1. This is in the wrong place.

    7. Keith when are you going to add a delete function?

    8. As an IT professional I certainly get what he’s saying about the value of data.

      The only caution I’ll give them is that data is only as good as the way that it’s interpreted and I can attest to the fact that many corporations have failed spectacularly because they’ve chased misinterpreted data down the wrong rabbit hole.

      Nothing beats a human overwatch of the analysis – hopefully they have factored that in as well.

    9. Um yeah… Hate to break it to ya but Congizant is nowhere near 5 star (speaking as an IT Consultant who’s worked with them!) Goodluck!

    10. He’s certainly very good at selling. Whether or not they can make competitive car that isn’t Mercedes is another matter, at least they’ve been given a one year reprieve to sort that out before 2022 regs come into play.

    11. “Lawrence star” ?

      Christ. What an utter flog. Remember when people weren’t so conceited?

      1. It’s awful isn’t it. The guy has zero taste or style.

      2. Probably the same time as people started developing rice paper thin skins.

        1. Lawrence-star level comment Tony.

    12. “IT is the future of Formula 1,” said Stroll. “It’s the Internet of Things, it’s cloud computing, it’s digital engineering, it’s data analysis, it’s AI. We’re building a new factory, I want it to be a smart factory, 5G.

      I can’t say all this nonsense with a straight face, and that is why I’m poor.

      1. I look forward to seeing Checo lapping Seb every race.

      2. @eljueta LOL and that’s actually true!

    13. If Matt Bishop is such a media guru, why did he let Larry out of his box?

    14. Interesting to have the IT professionals take on this company here. Good luck going up against those subtle “little stickers” who some are telecommunication giants.

    15. Looking at the accompanying Racefans photo of the car, I only see 5 stars, nothing superior.
      Wonder what BWT think of the insignificant stickers?

      When Seb beats Stroller-boy [@coldfly – LOFL] can see him quoting that famous phrase –
      Not bad for a #2

    16. The immediate data says get rid of your son, you should have kept the real driver.

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