Racing Point boss explains delay on team's much-needed new factory
When Lawrence Stroll took control of what was then the Force India team in 2018, plans were soon announced for a much-needed new factory. The team – now known as Racing Point – were due to move in next August, but boss Otmar Szafnauer has revealed that date has now been pushed back by a full year.
Racing Point still operates out of the factory originally built to house the Jordan team ahead of their F1 debut back in 1991, and speaking on the F1 Nation podcast Szafnauer explained why the new facility has been delayed.
“Mainly, we were on a tight timeframe anyway," he said. "[It was] a project plan that was quite tight and we had to break ground in the first quarter of this year to be able to finish and move in, in August 2021.
“Well, first quarter of this year, we were in complete lockdown, nobody was working. Formula 1 teams had our yearly FIA-imposed break because of it [the coronavirus pandemic]. We couldn’t get anyone to progress the factory, so it was put on hold.
“We lost a lot of time because of the virus situation and the government lockdown regulations, so there was no way we’re ever going to now make a completion date of August 2021.
“When we looked at the situation, it only made sense to move it by a whole year to August 2022, because that August break is a perfect time to move factories for us without disrupting the rest of the organisation and what it’s really here to do, which isn’t to move factories, but to go racing at a competitive level."
Given F1’s new cost cap is coming into force next year Szafnauer was asked if it still made sense to build a brand new facility.
“You’ve got to remember, the factory we have now was built in the late Eighties,” he said. “I think it was built for 150 people. We’re bursting at the seams, and because we’re bursting at the seams, we have pockets of engineers working in different locations and it’s much more efficient if we can all be co-located – everybody under one roof.
“It’s worthwhile building a new factory, getting everybody under one roof. Our simulators are in a different location now, our wind tunnel is in a different location, the modelmakers are in a different location – it’s just not as efficient.”
The team will be rebranded again for next year as Aston Martin, following Stroll’s investment in the British car maker earlier this year – another factor in the need for a new building, Szafnauer said.
“We’re going to become Aston Martin soon, we’ve got the land, and it would be nice to have an Aston Martin Formula 1 Team campus. Not just us, but some of the road car designers and engineers as well on campus with us.”