Aston Martin recruitment ‘definitely slowing down’ as team balance growth against cost cap

Aston Martin mechanics work on Sebastian Vettel's car. Hungaroring July 2022. Credit: Alamy
Aston Martin mechanics work on Sebastian Vettel's car. Hungaroring July 2022. Credit: Alamy

Aston Martin are a team that has been expanding rapidly, but that process now will begin to move at a slower pace.

Under their past identity of Force India, this team was one known for making life difficult for the bigger teams on far superior budgets, but now under Lawrence Stroll’s consortium, the Silverstone squad has seen the money flow.

With a new factory and wind tunnel under construction, the outfit, known since 2021 as Aston Martin, has also been increasing its workforce, including several high-profile signings like Martin Whitmarsh as CEO, and luring away Red Bull’s former aero chief Dan Fallows to become technical director.

But now, with Aston Martin at a fairly advanced stage with their expansion, and the budget cap set to drop to a base value of $135 million, from $140m, the team will look to ease up slightly on this recruitment drive.

Aston Martin’s performance director Tom McCullough confirmed this news, while also speaking about the learnings which teams have taken from the budget cap so far and how they structure their workforce.

Alpine team principal and former Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer recently suggested that a loophole had been found in the cap, allowing the bigger teams to get smart with how they use their staff in order to hoard them and build up their personnel again, while still complying with the cap.

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“Yeah, for sure, we’ve learned a lot with the regulations and the way that whole process has worked,” McCullough told media outlets, including PlanetF1.com, when asked if lessons learned will lead to a different spending approach for Aston Martin in future.

“We saved quite a large development budget, knowing that this year [2022] would be a year that you’re going to need to spend some money on developing the car.

“We obviously had quite a bit of margin to the cost gap when we’re setting all that out as we’re sort of growing. I think next year, it’s a guide path of the cost cap coming down, we’re growing as a team, so those challenges are going to be harder.

“We’ve been doing a lot of growing in the last couple of years with the idea of coming up to the cost cap, so I think we’re in quite a good place now, the size of the company. Still some recruitment going on, but it’s definitely slowed down compared to what it was.

“I think everyone learns regulations and interpretations of regulations, and I think people will be able to push a bit more. I’m sure there’s a lot of teams that have got a bit of margin at the end of the year, maybe more than they thought.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack pinned the team’s current staff force at between “650 to 700”, and concurred that the budget cap will dictate any further growth.

“The cost cap will dictate the size of the team,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com. “I think you have to adjust all the time.

“As soon as you have clarifications in one area and maybe more restrictions in another, you are always trying to shift between technical, between operations, between the areas that are into the relevant costs. So I think it will stay dynamic.”

 

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