Dan Fallows opens up on joining Aston Martin from Red Bull and the reason behind it, while adding on working with Adrian Newey and how he sees F1 2022.

Having moved to Aston Martin from Red Bull under controversial situation, Fallows has now started with his new F1 team after a gap of nine months which he served has gardening leave. His former team fought legally to not let him join immediately.

He spent his off time preparing to join Aston Martin and made immediate impact, having overlooked the radical rear wing design that the team brought in Hungary. It brought the attention of every F1 team on the grid, even to the extent of the FIA.

The governing body seemingly were fine with it, but Aston Martin hasn’t used it as much with Singapore likely the next destination. Aside that, Fallows opens up on joining the team after spending most of his life at Red Bull where he worked alongside Adrian Newey.

Here’s part of the Q& that Fallows did with Aston Martin:

Life at Aston Martin –

Fallows: “It’s been a fascinating journey so far and I’ve only been here several months. The most striking thing for me is that Aston Martin F1 still feels like a race team – everyone is very supportive of each other. When a team grows significantly in a very short amount of time, it can become unwieldy and departments don’t talk to each other properly. But the lines of communication are very simple and clear here – we need to make sure we don’t lose that.

The high quality of the people that we have at Aston Martin F1 has really impressed me. The engineering talent really is at the level that it needs to be – great ideas, really good creativity. All that’s been not quite there is a unified clarity of purpose – and that’s what I hope to help bring. It’s all about having an eye on what you’re trying to achieve on the racetrack, right from the outset of designing the car.”

Left Red Bull for Aston Martin –

Fallows: “I wanted a new challenge. The most rewarding times in my career have been when I’m presented with a challenge, and I’ve gone on to overcome that challenge. It’s not just the challenge, though, it’s the opportunity to be part of something that goes from being something modest to something spectacular. There’s serious ambition at Aston Martin F1 – from Lawrence Stroll at the very top, right the way through the entire team. So, to be asked to join the team on its journey, but also given the resources that I have, is incredibly exciting.

“It’s incredibly exciting when someone puts that level of faith in you, when they’re essentially saying, ‘Here’s a Formula One team, turn it into what you want, get the people you want, run it how you want, make it successful – make your mark.’ I took on this challenge because I felt that things could be done differently. It’s not about doing things the Red Bull way, or the Mercedes way, or the Ferrari way. It’s about coming up with a better way – the Aston Martin way. If you stay in the same place and you’re successful, you’re going to carry on doing the same thing – and that becomes kind of boring.”

Similarities between Aston Martin and Red Bull projects –

Fallows: “One of the most exciting parts of the Red Bull journey was when the team evolved from Jaguar. A small team with a very limited budget suddenly had significantly more budget, more resource, and more technical strength right at the top of the organisation. Watching the team grow, being part of that growth, being part of the success, even making mistakes along the way and learning from them, it was incredibly exciting. What’s happening at Aston Martin F1 right now feels very similar to what happened at Red Bull then.”

Learning from Adrian Newey –

Fallows: “I learnt a huge amount from Adrian. We all know how talented he is as a designer but what people who haven’t worked with him don’t appreciate is just how modest he is from a technical perspective – there’s no technical arrogance with him. He doesn’t have a problem with letting go of an idea if evidence comes along that supports a different approach. Of course, you believe in your ideas and what you think is right but, if something or someone comes along with evidence that proves a different idea is better, you must never be afraid to change tack and do things differently – that’s the key thing I learned from Adrian.”

Reuniting with Eric Blandin from Red Bull to Aston Martin –

Fallows: “It’s lovely working with Eric again because there are so many shortcuts with somebody you’ve worked with before – the same applies, for example, to our Head of Technical Operations, Andrew Alessi, whom I also worked with at Red Bull. Eric has obviously had quite a different experience recently, being at Ferrari and then Mercedes, so I think we were slightly unsure about whether our opinions had diverged on things. But we quickly found that we still have so much in common from a technical point of view. He’s also really committed to the idea of not doing things in a Mercedes way or a Red Bull way and finding a better path instead.”

AMR22’s competitiveness –

Fallows: “When I saw the AMR22 for the first time, it was clearly quite different from the Red Bull philosophy. Having worked on the Red Bull car in its initial stages – roughly half the aero development work had been done by the time I left – I have a pretty good understanding of what they’ve done and how they’ve approached things. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I looked at the AMR22 and thought it wouldn’t be quick, but I did think it would be a challenge to achieve the kind of performance Red Bull were going to achieve with the concept of their car. I was curious to see the thinking behind the AMR22 philosophy, but in fact by the time I arrived the team had already concluded that they needed to pursue an alternative design solution.”

Spanish GP upgrade and speculation about you working on it –

Fallows: “No. Nothing at all. The upgrade had already been designed before I arrived. I completely understand why the team did it. The car was always designed with two concepts in mind and from very early on the feeling was that it had gone in the wrong direction. The decision to switch actually helped me get up to speed quicker: I understood more about the concept we introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix than I did about the previous concept.”

Return of innovative rear wing and hand in design process –

Fallows: “The Marina Bay Street Circuit should suit that wing so it’s likely to be back on the car for the Singapore Grand Prix. It’s a development that came under my watch, but it’s an excellent example of the strength and depth we have in the technical department. The creativity of our people at Aston Martin F1 is exceptionally high. I see examples of their ingenuity all over the car – different ways of making the most of the regulations – and the rear wing we introduced in Hungary is one of them.”

Idea coming through –

Fallows: “Normally at three o’clock in the morning. It drives my wife absolutely insane: me suddenly waking up in the middle of the night with an idea. It’s strange, really strange. It’s as if your brain is doing all this processing in the background while you sleep. I love it, almost to the point where I’ll try to leave work with a problem in my head and say to myself, ‘Right, off you go,’ and let my brain get to work. Sometimes it disappoints you but, occasionally, lightning strikes and you wake up thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I just need to do that.’ It’s so weird.

“Understanding how people work best and how they come up with ideas is actually really interesting – it’s different for everybody. For me it’s in the middle of the night for some reason, for some people it will happen when they go for a walk or run, but it’s almost never as a result of staring at the same problem for hours on end. It’s why we’re exploring how we can prioritise open space in the new factory because these things never come to you when you’re sat staring at a screen all the time.”

Updates status –

Fallows: “As part of a programme to reduce the weight of the car, and improve the aerodynamic performance, we have some new items for Singapore. It’s about making the car faster but it’s also about next year’s car. It’s so important to keep bringing developments to the car and not waste any opportunity to test them on the track. You can have as much faith as you like in your wind tunnel and CFD tools, but the real answer is what happens on track.

“For us to build confidence in what we’re doing for ’23 – in the direction we’re going – we need to keep bringing updates to the track. The response from the drivers about the changes we have made this season has been good and we’ve seen improvements in the performance of the car too, so it shows we’re on the right trajectory.”

Here’s Sebastian Vettel visiting a hospital

Here’s Aston Martin on sidepod designs

Here’s Sebastian Vettel talking about Mattia Binotto axe rumours