Bob Bell, Aston Martin, 2024

Alpine technical advisor Bell switches to Aston Martin

Formula 1

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Aston Martin have appointed former Alpine strategic advisor Bob Bell has their new technical executive director.

Bell had been working with the Enstone team in an advisory capacity after previously working as the team’s technical director and then chief technical officer.

He joins Aston Martin in a new role as ‘executive director of technical’, working under team principal Mike Krack at the their Silverstone base. Aston Martin say Bell will hold “overall responsibility for the technical, engineering and performance functions” of the F1 team, which finished fifth in last year’s constructors championship.

Bell said he was motivated to join Aston Martin after being impressed by their team’s progress in recent times.

“The opportunity to play my part in that journey is incredibly exciting and I look forward to working with the great technical leaders at Silverstone,” he said. “The scale and ambition of this project is highly motivating. I am a racer and I see the hunger and determination powering this team.”

Krack believes the appointment of Bell will support the team’s ambitions to move further forward up the grid.

“This is a key appointment to ensure we are optimising everything we do as a team and focusing on the right performance areas,” Krack said.

“Bob’s track record in the sport speaks for itself and his experience will help us continue to make steps forward on the exciting journey we are on.”

Bell is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from Alpine. Technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer left following the team’s poor start to the 2024 season in Bahrain last weekend. Alpine announced a restructuring of its technical division as a result.

Last year the team also lost its chief technical officer Pat Fry to Williams and sporting director Alan Permane to RB. Bruno Famin replaced Otmar Szafnnauer as team principal in July.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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16 comments on “Alpine technical advisor Bell switches to Aston Martin”

  1. Aston Martin is starting to look like a very 2000s team, with lots of recognizable names from that era but a now rather high average age. Bob Bell is close to 66 years old.

    Might not be so bad given Byrne continued to consult into his late 70s, but that’s an exceptional man.

    1. You need people in the know to build up the future. All these people bring experience. For a team that’s trying to become less dependent of others, I think they are on the right path.

      1. Yeah, experience in leadership roles does have merit, of course. And it’s not like it’s all like this; others like Krack, Furbatto and Fallows are all around 50.

        Still, F1 teams have a bit of an obsession with experience. You see it on the drivers’ side, and things like this as well. Bell hasn’t achieved much of note in sporting terms since 2006, which is a long time ago by any measure.

        1. Bell hasn’t achieved much of note in sporting terms since 2006, which is a long time ago by any measure.

          Very experienced tech guy with a top end managerial role.
          If the person in that position knows enough to sweep away the bull-artists and allow the good techs to flourish, you’re on a winner.

          I had a director who claimed not to really know the tech stuff (a white lie) and that his job was to keep the political oiks off the back of the techies who “work much better when they aren’t interrupted” – he also claimed that the best he could do in a crisis was make sure the techs had enough coffee and biscuits. For some reason a lot got done, and the techs were happy.

    2. MichaelN, not sure why you seem to be referring to Byrne’s work as being in the past, because he is still actively working as a design consultant for Ferrari (his current contract runs until 2025).

      Equally, wouldn’t most of your criticisms apply to the majority of the teams in the field? Adrian Newey is only 8 months younger than Bob Bell, whilst several of Red Bull’s senior managers are also in their mid to late 50s – and it’s hardly as if Red Bull have suffered for that.

      Equally, why would it be surprising that teams would not value experienced staff? Technical professions as a whole tend to place significant importance on experience.

    3. Newey is ancient too. Bob Bell is a genius. He’ll be incredibly valuable.

      Meanwhile, Alpine continues to fire everyone the second things don’t work out. They’re going to make Williams’ three-year crisis era look like a dream.

  2. Alpine seems to be starting again with building their team, for what, the 5th time in the last 6-7 years?

    And worst, I still fail to see any solid strategy or path forward, unlike what we see at Williams, what McLaren and AM were going through the last few years etc.

    1. Maybe you fail to see a solid strategy because you don’t follow them. Let’s not fool ourselves.

      They have a clear target: survive this year and the next one, full force in 2026. If you knew that, you’d not be typing the three teams that you love and follow closely.

      1. They have a clear target: survive this year and the next one, full force in 2026

        They seem to have been following that plan for the last decade, with only the end date changing each time through the loop.

        1. I’m afraid that’s their strategy, playing cicles.

  3. Took Renault long enough to start refreshing their positions. They just kept hiring back people that worked for them in the 2000’s, but they also forgot that standard of tech improved, and like many teams did, you have to renew the names too.
    That team won’t be sold because it gives profit, and it will keep giving it, so, it’s good enough to pass by Renault board.

    Fresh brains and young blood is needed. I’m happy that the replacements are from inside the team, because hiring external chaps would be just a perpetuation of current state of things. Corp workers don’t like when their boss keep hiring external names, makes them feel devalued.

    1. Fresh brains and young blood is needed.

      Fresh thoughts, tempered by experience to avoid the pitfalls.

      I’m happy that the replacements are from inside the team, because hiring external chaps would be just a perpetuation of current state of things. Corp workers don’t like when their boss keep hiring external names, makes them feel devalued.

      They don’t seem to have thought of anything out of the ordinary up to now, why would promoting them bring a large crop of new ideas?

      The actual state with existing workers feeling devalued derives from hiring in people who are pretty inept, but bulled their way through the interview. If the new guys are full of new ideas that work, they slot into the organisation quickly, and some of the deadwood leave.

      1. Good comment.
        Unfortunately the batch of senior level personnel at Enstone, which are now officially out, they had a tendency to pursue their own ideas first and the others creativity to be secondary. Worst thing you can do in a F1 team. They also have a deficiency in terms of understand Vehicle fluid dynamics and a lot of vehicle dynamics in general.
        I imagine, in my ignorance, that these new names will be allowed to think more freely and spread freedom of thought internally, and perhaps people that understand VFD better, because this has came back to bite this team in the form of A524.
        About inept people, guess that can be said for a few that were fired, might have a beautiful curriculum, but in their stint at Alpine/Renault, inept is a good description of their leaderships.
        Famin said they are hiring more people for Enstone, no famous name, but with interesting profiles (one might wonder what he meant with that, but I think it’s about being able to understand data, simulation and correlation of the car dynamics and chassis as a whole).

  4. Damn, I am SOOOOO happy Fernando left that sinking ship called Alpain before it actually sunk.
    It was the 1 time in his F1 career that he had pulled the longer straw. Seeing him in that Alpain car struggling to get into Q2 would be too Alpainful. Well, he most likely would’ve called it quits around now if not earlier.

  5. Will the last person leaving Alpine please turn out the lights.

    And don’t nick the light bulbs please…

  6. Alpine was a poor name change for Renault as a marketing for their sports cars. Just go with Dacia F1 team

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