Aston Martin’s potential feels very similar to Red Bull’s early days – Fallows

2022 F1 season

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Aston Martin’s new technical director Dan Fallows, who has joined them following a long stint at Red Bull, says they remind him of the early days at his previous squad.

Fallows has arrived at Aston Martin following a lengthy dispute between the two teams over his services. He said the attention his move attracted was “really embarrassing.”

“Especially when you’ve got friends sending messages with links to articles about you,” he told Aston Martin’s website. “I’ve never really been interested in this sort of thing – I’m not in it for the publicity. All I’m interested in is making fast cars.”

He has arrived at a team which was taken over by Lawrence Stroll in 2018 and rebranded as Aston Martin last year. Fallows sees strong similarities to Red Bull’s transformation when it took over the Jaguar team at the end of 2004.

“One of the most exciting parts of the Red Bull journey was when the team evolved from Jaguar,” said Fallows. “A small team with a very limited budget suddenly had significantly more budget, more resource, and more technical strength right at the top of the organisation.

“Watching the team grow, being part of that growth, being part of the success, even making mistakes along the way and learning from them, it was incredibly exciting. What’s happening at Aston Martin F1 right now feels very similar to what happened at Red Bull then.”

Fallows worked for Jaguar from 2002 until its takeover by Red Bull two years later. Following a stint at Dallara, he returned to Red Bull in 2006, and was with them throughout their championship-winning successes of 2010-13.

Before leaving the team Fallows worked on the “initial stages” of the Red Bull RB18, which has become the car to beat this year. “Roughly half the aero development work had been done by the time I left,” he said. “I have a pretty good understanding of what they’ve done and how they’ve approached things.”

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However he had no involvement with Aston Martin’s AMR22 upgrade, introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix, which bore a close similarity to Red Bull’s design. “The upgrade had already been designed before I arrived,” he said.

Major Aston Martin upgrade drew comparisons to Red Bull
“I completely understand why the team did it. The car was always designed with two concepts in mind and from very early on the feeling was that it had gone in the wrong direction.

“The decision to switch actually helped me get up to speed quicker: I understood more about the concept we introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix than I did about the previous concept.”

The team will bring further upgrades to its car at next week’s race, which Fallows says are partly aimed at their plans for next year.

“As part of a programme to reduce the weight of the car, and improve the aerodynamic performance, we have some new items for Singapore,” he said.

“It’s about making the car faster but it’s also about next year’s car. It’s so important to keep bringing developments to the car and not waste any opportunity to test them on the track. You can have as much faith as you like in your wind tunnel and CFD tools, but the real answer is what happens on track.”

Although Aston Martin has endured a difficult 2022 campaign, falling to ninth out of the 10 teams in the championship, Fallows is encouraged by the progress they have made with their car.

“For us to build confidence in what we’re doing for ’23 – in the direction we’re going – we need to keep bringing updates to the track,” he said “The response from the drivers about the changes we have made this season has been good and we’ve seen improvements in the performance of the car too, so it shows we’re on the right trajectory.”

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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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11 comments on “Aston Martin’s potential feels very similar to Red Bull’s early days – Fallows”

  1. Coventry Climax
    22nd September 2022, 18:22

    Ofcourse Fallows says something like this, no surprise there.
    But action speaks louder than words. Their action has not said very much, ever since they changed their name to AM, and that what was said, spoke of copying machines, buying instead of designing.
    Watching footage of Stroll sr. -within the Williams teambox e.g.-, my impressions are that he’s an unfriendly, un-inspiring leader, expecting his money to bring him respect. That has never worked and never will.
    Whenever I see an Aston Martin on the road, it breathes heritage and style. That was not brought in by Stroll, and it’s easily shovelled out. There’s things money can’t buy.

    1. Well, in his defense, that was long before Fallows arrived. While I don’t really care for Stroll Snr. either, I think the team’s leadership is excellent: Mike Krack, Martin Whitmarsh, Andrew Green, and of course, Dan Fallows are all fantastic leaders. It’s honestly the main thing that gives me hope about this team in the future. Even more than the money. Because Force India was great long before they came into money.

      That being said, it was coming into money that allowed them to hire Fallows, Krack, Whitmarsh, Vettel and now Alonso. But I’m much more excited about Alonso than I was about the washed-out version of Seb from 2021.

      Stroll Snr. is an arrogant p… but I do think he is probably a good executive given his track record. I just hope he is careful not to tarnish his own brand by trying to become the face of it. Because I think the same things you do when I see an AM: heritage, style, class.

      1. Fallows didn’t get a chance to design this years chassis. Neither did many of their other big engineer signings. They also haven’t gotten to use their new faculties for the most part yet.

        Anyway, comments like this still don’t mean much. I mean if I was his best friend and he told me that during over a drink, maybe I’d believe it. But of course he’ll say stuff like this to the media.

  2. Reminds me of an Aussie GP early on in Red Bulls time and Coltard binned it and the car went out onto the grass and completely fell apart. AM reminds me of those early RB days.

  3. To be honest it feels similar to Stewart/Jaguar degeneration

    1. That was a catastrophic failure. But to be frank, it was not great from inception. They didn’t get top notch leadership as AM are getting. They didn’t get a top tier driver to lead the team. Also, crucially, AM don’t have to run a spectacularly unreliable Ford PU that blows up every 4 races.

  4. There are great, perfectly organized teams, who build fast Formula 1 cars.

    There are also…
    …great, perfectly organized teams, who build slow Formula 1 cars. AM has the potential to be the latter.

    1. I can’t think of a perfectly organized team that built slow cars. I can think of disfunctional teams that built fast cars though. Like Force India/Racing Point. But all those spectacular expensive failures like Toyota, Mclaren Honda, Bar-Honda, Jaguar, and to a much lesser extent BMW, all had hallmarks of disfunction which was widely reported at the time.

      Now, I do agree some very well organized teams sometimes turn up with the wrong concept to Barcelona for testing. But no very well organized team remains stuck in the back for too long. Mercedes this year is a good example. Mclaren in 2009 is another good example.

  5. All teams have potential and all teams do improve, but in the end it’s raceday that counts. And so far AM has been pretty underwhelming as a replacement for the much-appraised Force India.
    Hopefully it gets better as I don’t want to see Alonso fighting for 16th place, though with cost cap and limited testing it will not be an easy task. Hiring people and building wind tunnels doesn’t make it a front-runner right on the next year unfortunately.

  6. Every comment above seems to indicate a lack of understanding about the new investment at AM: Few of their big name engineer signings were allowed to work on this year’s chassis and their new faculties were also not available yet for work on the chassis either.

    Let’s wait until the new engineers/facilities yield no results before mocking Lawrence/AM.

    1. facilities*

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