The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team will make its debut in Formula 1 in 2021, and Otmar Szafnauer says it is an honour to everyone within the Silverstone-based team to be able to bring back the legendary name to the sport.
Szafnauer, the CEO and Team Principal of the team formerly known as the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team, says they have had around a year of preparation ahead of Aston Martin’s return to the top level of single-seater racing.
The team that debuted as the Jordan F1 Team back in 1991 has often punched above its weight in Formula 1, with 2020 being its most successful year to date after taking a win in the Sakhir Grand Prix and three other podium finishes on their way to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
And Szafnauer says that reputation gives them confidence that they can do the Aston Martin name proud right from the first race.
“We’ve had almost a year of preparation to reach this point and we’ve been thrilled to see the positive reaction since we revealed our new identity as the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team,” said Szafnauer.
“Representing such an iconic brand is a huge privilege for every member of the team. It might sound daunting, but we’ve been competing in Formula 1 for 30 years [under various names], winning races and taking podiums along the way – often against the odds.
“We’ve earned a well-deserved reputation for punching above our weight, so we’re confident we can do the Aston Martin name proud right from the get-go.”
“We have every reason to be excited about the future”
Szafnauer says there is plenty of reasons for the team to be excited for the future, with, amongst other things, a new factory set to be finished in 2022. It was initially set to be finished this year, but the coronavirus pandemic has put its building behind schedule.
He hopes the new name, the commitment from the shareholders, money from fresh investors and the experience within the team gives them a chance of fighting for further race wins and podiums.
“With a new name, committed shareholders, fresh investment, and an experienced team, we believe we have all the ingredients in place to compete for even more podiums and hopefully victories too,” said the American. “By the end of 2022, we’ll also have a fantastic new factory at Silverstone, giving the team the space and infrastructure to realise our ambitions.
“We have a new title sponsor in Cognizant with the expertise to add value in all areas of our IT operations and make a valuable contribution to our performance on-track. It’s the start of a new journey and I can sense an extra energy in the team, with a determination to push performance further than ever before.
“Combined with some of the most creative minds in the business, a true racers’ mentality and the can-do spirit that has served us so well through the years, we have every reason to be excited about the future.”
‘Mammoth Task’ to Ready Aston Martin for 2021 Alongside 2020 Challenges
Szafnauer says the task of building the team up for the new era has been a ‘mammoth’ one, particularly after they did it whilst fighting for third place in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship, something they fell just a few points short of.
Racing Point came into the season finale in Abu Dhabi sitting in third, but an early retirement for Sergio Pérez and a ninth-place finish for Lance Stroll saw the McLaren F1 Team jump ahead of them.
However, Szafnauer says they can be proud of what they achieved last year in difficult circumstances.
“It has been a mammoth task,” revealed Szafnauer. “It’s easy to forget that we’ve been putting the groundwork in place for a brand-new era alongside a very challenging global setting, all the while balancing those tasks with our most successful Formula 1 season to date – including a race win and multiple podium finishes en route to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Everybody involved should be extremely proud of that achievement and I think it demonstrates that while this is a new team name and identity, we have retained the strong backbone that has guided us through some tough times to where we are today.
“While the challenge was once establishing ourselves as the most efficient team on the grid, now there’s an exciting opportunity to establish ourselves as a top team, while still maintaining that efficiency, in order to add an exciting chapter to the Aston Martin legacy.”
Szafnauer says the team will be officially launched sometime in March with Stroll being joined by Sebastian Vettel, and he feels they are in ‘good shape’ despite the global pandemic still causing problems to everyone.
“We’ll officially launch the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team in March, including the first look at our 2021 livery and driver line-up,” he said. “The nature of the global situation makes things more challenging in many ways, and timelines were condensed, but we’re in good shape.
“I’m incredibly grateful to everyone in the team for continuing to be so adaptable and hard-working in such unique circumstances and we hope to see it pay off in 2021 before we then look to prepare for Formula 1’s new era in 2022.”