Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer believes the outfit has the capability to eventually challenge for Formula 1 titles but has warned that it will not emerge as a front-running force until at least 2024.
The squad, acquired by Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll in 2018, has been rebranded as Aston Martin for 2021 and on Wednesday unveiled its new look for the AMR21.
Under its Force India/Racing Point guise the squad forged a reputation as a dependable and efficient midfield team capable of challenging for the occasional podium.
Last season it finished fourth in the standings and claimed victory in Bahrain, the team’s first win since its Jordan Grand Prix days in 2003.
Aston Martin has expanded since Stroll’s acquisition, assisted by greater financial resources, with a new factory at its Silverstone base set to be opened in the second half of 2022.
Stroll has previously outlined that competing for Formula 1 titles must be Aston Martin’s target but while Szafnauer has faith he emphasised that it cannot be regarded as a short-term ambition.
“It’s a lot easier to say we’re going to be fighting and winning a world championship than actually doing it,” he said.
“The two things that have to happen are, one, we need a good plan in order for us to start today and get to world championship contenders, and then we’ve got to execute [the plan].
“We’re in the midst of that planning now and the execution will definitely take some time.
“People in Formula 1, in other teams, have said you’ve got to give us 3-5 years to do so and we’re no different.
“For the last year we’ve planned a new factory with new infrastructure in a place to house all of us under one roof, to grow the team, and the implementation of that has just now begun at Silverstone and towards the end of 2022 we should be moving into a new factory.
“And within that factory we’re going to need state of the art tools that will help us design and develop a car that’s worthy of contending for a world championship.
“That’s a few years away. If I have to look into the future it’ll be in the 3-5-year time period.”
Szafnauer added that the team’s history in Formula 1, which included stages where its mere existence was threatened amid financial concerns, means it is well-versed to deal with any added pressure brought by the Aston Martin name.
“As a group of racers and having that special DNA at the team we’ve always put pressures on ourselves to compete to the highest levels with the resources that we had,” he said.
“In the past, we had other pressures, financial pressures or times where we couldn’t put an entire car together but we had to go racing and do the best we could with it.
“This is just a different type of pressure but we’re absolutely used to it.
“We’ve got to make sure that the pressure we exert on the system is helpful and drives us in the right direction.”