Aston Martin engineering director Luca Furbatto says that Formula 1 will miss a “golden opportunity” to cut costs if the sport does not introduce a standard gearbox for 2026.
Since 2009, the Silverstone-based outfit has made use of customer units from McLaren and, now solely, Mercedes.
However, Aston Martin will begin a new era in 2026, when it joins forces with Honda as a works outfit under F1’s revised engine regulations.
Aston Martin has already been preparing its own transmission department ahead of 2026, but with the costs associated with the design and manufacture of its own components, the team is convinced that common parts would be a simple way for all competitors to save money.
While there is limited demand for reconsideration, Furbatto reaffirmed Aston Martin’s calls to reduce the financial stress on teams.
“We’re pushing for a standardised gearbox because it makes financial sense in a cost cap environment,” Furbatto said in an interview on the Aston Martin website.
“But we are facing stiff opposition. Realistically it’s not going to happen any time soon. It’s possible the FIA may reach something of a middle ground, with the design becoming a little more prescribed, lighter and simplified.
“I suspect we will look back in a few years and conclude that we lost a golden opportunity to reduce costs within the transmission area.
“It is something that the fans cannot see, the technology is the same between all teams and brings very little performance.
“The money saved on transmission could be repurposed towards aero development, which is currently the only way to compress the grid and improve the show.”
According to Furbatto, the team’s transmission department is now beginning to shape up with a series of third-party suppliers already involved.
“The last time this team made its own gearbox was 2008 and things have moved on a bit since then!” he continued.
“We are recruiting and building our competencies in this area – and we’ve already brought in a number of very talented designers.
“The group working on this project is still very much growing, but the work being done with a mix of internal resources and external contractors is moving forward quickly.
“2026 might seem like a long way in the future, but in engineering terms, it’s really just around the corner.
“As the regulations currently stand, teams will have to develop a car that is very aero-efficient to compensate for the new power unit.
“It’s a challenge, but every team is in the same situation. It’s up to us to do a better job than the others.”
“It’s a big part of everything we hope to achieve,” Furbatto said of the new complex which saw its doors open in July as part of phase one of the move.
“When I joined the team the new campus didn’t even exist, so I’ve been able to have an input into shaping our future facilities. I recall when we were looking at the layout of the R&D testing areas and various rigs.
“We spent a lot of our time looking at the building layout, the equipment specifications in great detail, and even the type of foundations. The first phase of the new campus is complete and it’s an incredible place to work and there is more to come.
“I believe we’ll start to see the full potential of the new campus by the beginning of 2025.
“We’ll have our new gearbox dynos fully operational, and the new wind tunnel will be ready in the second half of next year. All in all, it’ll be a game-changer.”