Otmar Szafnauer says there are no troubles at Aston Martin despite a couple of run-ins between Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, as he adds on Martin Whitmarsh.
The Aston Martin pair made contact in the latter stages of the Russian GP at the Sochi Autodrom, which raised some questions regarding the balance of the F1 team. Before it started to rain in the grand prix, Vettel and Stroll made contact in Turn 10 when the German wanted to pass the Canadian.
There was a big gap to the left side of Stroll, which allowed Vettel to make an overtake attempt, but the Canadian closed the door and the two collided a bit and almost crashed out. It was a frustrating moment for the Aston Martin team leaving the Russian GP bare-handed despite both starting in the Top 10.
Aston Martin’s boss, Szafnauer looked calmed about the situation between Vettel and Stroll. In fact, he stated that the Canadian apologised for the run-in. “They spoke about it after, and I was there, and Lance was apologetic,” he said. “He didn’t see Seb coming around him and just moved over to take the corner and Seb happened to be there, so yeah, there is no need, they’re completely fine.”
This was not the first time to see such an incident between the teammates as Vettel was pushed wide by Stroll at Turn 6 and lost a lot of places this year in Monza too. For now, as they rebuild, the partnership is going on well, but only time will tell how they stack up once they are at the front-end of the competition.
Meanwhile, the team is witnessing the arrival of a man of high caliber this month, former McLaren team principal Whitmarsh. The Brit joined the Anglo-British team with a new role of CEO of Aston Martin Performance Technologies begging from 1st of October.
Although it is not a direct F1 role, Whitmarsh brings in wealth of experience. “Martin arrived on Friday, so it’s only been a couple of days that he’s been there before I left to come here,” said Szafnauer. “He’s getting to know the team and some of the other strategic things that he was hired to do, as we’re marching our way down getting those things done.
“There’s a lot happening at the team and we welcome Martin. He can help with his experience. We’re building a new factory now, we’re building a new wind tunnel, for example, and there’s a lot happening back at base, even when we’re out racing, so it’s nice to have his experience,” he added.
The 63-years-old worked at Mclaren from 1989 until 2014 where he became Mclaren’s Group CEO and Team Principal for the last seven years before he left the Woking-based team in 2014. Whitmarsh was the man who helped launch McLaren Applied Limited Technologies and collaborated closely with Lewis Hamilton throughout his first championship-winning season in 2008.
However, he will have a huge responsibility being a group CEO in Aston Martin. “He’s group CEO which by mere definition means you have a bigger role and a wider role,” said Szafnauer. “He will be coming to some races. I think he’ll be coming to Austin and then perhaps one more race this year and then a few next years.”
The story was written by Oprah Sagal
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