Lawrence Stroll believes money will have a heavy influence in Formula 1 despite the budget cap era and new regulations being introduced next season.
Teams are limited to a budget of $145 million this year, which will drop to $140m next season and finally $135m in 2023. Marketing costs, race driver salaries and the team’s three top earners, though, are among items that are excluded. With Aston Martin set to spend up to $200m on a new factory, Stroll doesn’t expect the influence of his spending power to be removed by the budget cap.
“I think money always talks very loud, doesn’t it,” Stroll said. “It will continue to. We all know about the budget cap, we also are all very realistic of all the exclusions not included in the budget cap.
“For us, this campus, this facility was long overdue. COVID cost us two years otherwise it would already be completed, or close to completion, but in order to compete to win, which is what I am here for, this tool is 100 percent needed. What you need to win is you need the right leadership and vision, which I believe I bring. You need to finance, to be able to afford it, you need the best people in the industry and you need to give them the best tools and processes.
“Well, this is delivering the tools and the processes — we already have a lot of great people — in order to recruit the ones we don’t have and to give them my guidance or senior management team’s guidance and leadership in order to fulfill all of our dreams.”
Stroll also noted the new factory campus has been designed with the budget cap in mind, providing another reason for why groundbreaking work only began this month.
“Well, we knew about the financial regulations — they were in discussion with FOM and the FIA for approximately two years before we actually signed them in September. So, we had started this simultaneously at about the same time when we know what the regulations were going to be.”
The main target for Aston Martin’s new factory is to house all of its personnel in one facility and give it the room to expand its number of employees to four figures if required.
“We’re going to have various businesses in here. We’ll have the Formula 1 team as we know it today. We’re also going to add an Aston Martin performance technology component to this business. We’re going to add an Aston Martin performance manufacturing component to this business that we currently don’t have today. And of course, we’re going to have all the windtunnel and the personnel to go with that that we don’t have today.
“Total headcount, I cannot tell you because we have not finished our plans. This is a process that’s going to take two, in some cases three, years after we replace the existing building. But it will be able to house … my guesstimate of comfortably … if you could include our convention center and auditorium, which will itself be able to house to 250 people — now that’s not where staff will work, but it’s a premises that will be able to be used for having corporate meetings or what have you — but just headcount of staff, I’d say comfortably we’ll be able to fit 1000.”