On the Fast Track

Inside Plans for the World’s First Digital F1 Factory

Aston Martin entered Formula One in 1959, and in the decades since has become a key competitor in the competition. In September of this year, Aston Martin’s new chairman, Lawrence Stroll, made the decision to build a brand new, state-of-the-art factory. The new build is a key aspect of the Canadian businessman’s plan to level-up the team in the years to come.

Today, we are giving you the low-down on the new factory and what it means for Aston Martin Congnizant’s Formula One future.

A New Kind of Factory

Stroll believes that the new factory is concrete proof of “my belief in the team, confirm[ing] my ambition” for Aston Martin in the future of Formula One. Indeed, aside from being the first completely new Formula One factory built in the UK in the past 17 years, the impressive plans for the premises are no small commitment.

The factory will be the first facility to “benefit from the full installation of smart factory intelligent systems”. The Aston Martin team has partnered with Cognizant, NetApp and Sentinel One to design the factory in a way that it is “wireless, adaptive [and] streamlined” from the ground-up. By utilising data via the cloud, the factory will tie together all information streams, monitoring systems and manufacturing processes in a streamlined way. This means that the team can adapt over time alongside the cyclical manufacturing processes of a classic Formula One team, while also ensuring economies of scale and function as Stroll’s vision for an expanded team comes to fruition.

The plans to build an on-site wind tunnel are also impressing commentators. Dr Matthew Almond, a Wind Tunnel Systems Engineer with experience in Formula One, explained that wind tunnels are used to “measure the aerodynamic performance of our race cars…We can test a lot of items repeatedly and refine the geometry of the car over lots and lots of runs to hopefully incrementally improve the performance of the car.”

The Aston Martin Cognizant wind tunnel, which is due to be commissioned in Q3 2023, will utilise “the latest steel-belt rolling-road system, and a state-of-the-art-flow-imaging section area”. It is the first time in the history of the Aston Martin team that a single site will house a wind tunnel, model support and production facilities.

Construction Underway

So, what is the timeline for the project? The estimated window for both construction and installation is 18 months. Construction teams will be collaborative, with project management lead by Ridge and Partners LLP (who also designed the facility), construction consultancy services provided by Gardiner and Theobald, and the Aston Martin team’s own in-house resources helping to move the project along throughout the programme.

The scale of the factory is no small feat. Three brand-new units will be constructed over 400,000 square feet, as the scale of the facility needs to meet the growth of a team that is growing at a rapid rate. The first unit will house the design, manufacturing and marketing teams. The second will hold the wind-tunnel, and the third unit will serve as a central hub for staff amenities and a logistics centre.

With the estimated budget for this groundbreaking project being between £150-200 million, all eyes are on Stroll’s team to bring his vision smoothly into reality. With this not only being the first F1 factory built in the UK in decades, but also being the “first 5G factory, completely sustainable [and] a true smart factory in every sense of the word”, Foresight Works has high-hopes that data integration will be enabled from the get-go of the project.

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Madeleine Jones Casey

Madeleine Jones-Casey

Business Writer at Foresight Works

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