A breaking-ground ceremony has signalled the start of construction of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team’s
new factory and wind tunnel in Northamptonshire.
Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll and JCB Chairman Lord Bamford were on hand to mark the official start of an 18-month construction and installation phase for the new 400,000ft2
headquarters which will be completed by late 2022 or early 2023.
The new three-unit factory will be constructed on land across the road from the historic Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit: one building will house the team’s design, manufacturing and marketing resource; a second will be occupied by a brand-new wind tunnel; and the third will redevelop and repurpose the existing factory premises as a central hub with staff amenities and a logistics centre.
The construction of the new headquarters is a significant cultural landmark for the sport – it marks the first all-new factory in F1 in the UK for 17 years, the most recent being the McLaren Technology Centre, in Woking, which was officially opened in 2004.
As such, it is a serious indicator of the scale of the ambition of the team’s executive chairman Lawrence Stroll, who is developing, expanding and upgrading every facet of the organisation in a quest for World Championship-winning performance.
For the first time, the new factory will house every manufacturing resource within a single campus – the team currently operates from several discrete buildings, with some work outsourced.
The new wind tunnel will use the latest steel-belt rolling-road system, and a ‘state of the art’ flow-imaging section area and for the first time in the team’s history, the site will incorporate the wind tunnel, model support and production facilities – a move that will bring significant development-rate benefits. The commissioning of the wind tunnel is due to start in Q3 2023.
Development of the new site is also coupled with an ambitious recruitment drive. Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team has already made several notable technical appointments in the past few months and is continuing actively to recruit across every level of the organisation.
Many of the new roles will be filled by experienced experts already working within the motorsport sector, but others will be open to local talent within the neighbouring community.
As a new build, the factory will be the first F1 facility to benefit from the full installation of smart factory intelligent systems. Along with partners Cognizant, NetApp and Sentinel One, the new factory has been designed from the ground-up to be a wireless, adaptive, streamlined facility – where information streams, monitoring systems and manufacturing processes are tied together via data in the cloud.
Smart factory tech gives the new building the ability to constantly adapt to the cyclical manufacturing processes of a F1 team, and will provide significant economies of scale and function as the team expands its production presence.
Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team executive chairman, said: “It is inspiring to look at where we are now in the context of the architectural and organisational challenges and ambitions that lie ahead. Our new buildings reflect not only the scope of our determination to become a World Championship-winning force, but also the scale of our growth and development as an organisation.
“I feel strongly that any building is a powerful representation of the people who work within it, and I am thrilled that we are creating a new home in which people can work, collaborate, create and win together.
“It is exciting to think that the entire team will be in its new home by the end of 2022 or the start of 2023, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners who are working on the project, especially JCB and Cognizant.”
Lord Bamford, JCB chairman, said: “This ambitious project firmly positions the new team headquarters on the F1 landscape and provides a fantastic home and working environment for a group of extraordinarily talented and motivated men and women. I am inspired by Lawrence’s compelling vision for the team. It is an ambition we wholeheartedly share: to build a better industrial future for our country.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Aston Martin Cognizant CEO and team principal, said: “Our existing Silverstone factory is a little piece of Formula One history – but, as an organisation, we have outgrown it. What is more, we will require even more space as we continue to build our headcount over the next few years.
“We are indebted to the local council for their help and understanding throughout the design and consultation phase; we feel like we are creating a landmark that will express and enhance the values and investment that have made the Silverstone Technology Park and Motorsport Valley essential locations for the British technology industry.”
Brian Humphries, Cognizant CEO, said: “We fully recognise the power of this partnership. I have been extremely impressed by Lawrence’s vision for the team – to build up the infrastructure so as to make it one of the most respected and successful names in the sport of Formula One. At Cognizant, we are proud to be alongside Aston Martin as an active and energetic partner on that journey.
“The inauguration of an all-new fit-for-purpose factory and wind tunnel represents a moment to look ahead – at the transformative ambition and potential that lie ahead of us. Such a build is a serious undertaking, but one that reflects the determination and alignment of our two organisations as we work together.
“Once complete, the new Aston Martin Cognizant buildings will be an inspiring and empowering place in which to work, design, manufacture, collaborate and win.”