Formula 1 | Fallows: Aston Martin F1 potential similar to early Red Bull

You get the feeling Dan Fallows isn’t too keen on the spotlight as he reflects on how his split from Red Bull Racing to join Aston Martin F1 has filled some columns in the press.

Aston Martin F1 technical director entrusts his first 6 months to his new team.

“It’s embarrassing to make the front page of websites. It’s really embarrassing, especially when you have friends sending you messages with links to articles about you. I’ve never really been into that genre stuff; I’m not here to advertise. The all I care about is making fast cars.”

So what’s life like in Aston Martin F1? Did anything surprise him?

“It’s been a fascinating journey so far and I’ve only been here a few months. The amazing thing for me is that Aston Martin F1 still feels like a racing team – everyone really supports each other.”

“When a team grows enormously in a very short time, it can be complicated and departments don’t talk to each other properly. But the lines of communication are very simple and clear here: we have to make sure that we don’t lose it. .”

“I’ve been very impressed with the quality of people we have at Aston Martin F1. The engineering talent is really at the level it needs to be – good ideas, very good creativity.”

“What hasn’t quite been there is a unified clarity of purpose, and that’s what I hope to help bring. It’s about having an eye on what you’re trying to achieve, from the very beginning of the car’s design.”

When he chose to join Aston Martin F1, Fallows left behind one of the most successful F1 teams of all time – a team he helped build and where he was instrumental in its success. Why this exit?

“I wanted a new challenge. The most rewarding moments in my career were when I was presented with a challenge and when I overcame that challenge.”

“It’s not just the challenge, though, it’s the opportunity to be part of something that’s modest at first to something spectacular. There’s huge ambition in Aston Martin F1 – from Lawrence Stroll, who’s at the helm , even the whole team. .”

“So to be invited to join the team on their journey, but also given the resources that I have, it’s incredibly exciting. It’s incredibly exciting when someone puts that level of trust in you, when they basically say, “Here’s a Formula 1 team. , make it what you want, recruit the people you want, manage it how you want, make it successful, make your mark.”

“I took on this challenge because I felt things could be done differently. It’s not about doing things with Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari. It’s about finding a better way, the Aston Martin way.”

“Well, if you stay in one place and you’re successful, you’re going to keep doing the same thing, and it gets a little boring.”

Do you see any similarities between the Red Bull F1 project – in its early years – and the Aston Martin F1 project?

“One of the most exciting parts of Red Bull’s journey was when the team started from the base of Jaguar. A small team with a very limited budget suddenly had a lot more budget, more resources and more technical strength in the head of the organization.”

“Watching the team grow, being part of that growth, being part of the success, even making mistakes along the way and learning from them, was incredibly exciting. What’s happening in Aston Martin F1 now It’s very similar to what happened at Red Bull at the time.”

What did you learn working with Adrian Newey?

“I learned a lot from Adrià. We all know how talented he is as a designer, but what people who haven’t worked with him don’t appreciate is how great he is. modest from a technical point of view, there is there’s technical arrogance about him.”

“He has no problem abandoning an idea if evidence emerges 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 shows that a different idea is better, you should never be afraid to change your attitude and make the things in a different way, that’s the key. I learned from Adrià.”

The technical director was also able to find a former Red Bull teammate in July when Eric Blandin joined Aston Martin F1 as assistant technical director. How does it feel to reunite this duo?

“It’s nice to work with Eric again because there are a lot of shortcuts with someone you’ve worked with before, the same goes for example with our CTO Andrew Alessi, who I also worked with at Red bull”.

“Eric has obviously had a very different experience recently, having been at Ferrari and then at Mercedes, so we weren’t sure that our opinions wouldn’t have differed a bit on different things. But we soon realized that we still had a lot in common from a technical point of view.”

“He is also very committed to the idea of ​​not doing things the Mercedes or Red Bull way and finding a better way.

Fallows left Red Bull in June last year and was welcomed with nine months’ notice. What was he able to do with his free time?

“I took the opportunity to reflect on my eight years as head of aerodynamics at Red Bull: the mistakes I made; the things I got right; the things I tried that worked; the things I tried that didn’t work. work”.

“And I established what I wanted to be as a technical leader: how I would present myself; how I wanted people to perceive me; what kind of people I wanted around me; how I wanted the technical teams to function.”

“When I came to Aston Martin F1 I had a clear idea of ​​how I wanted things to work, how the team members should interact with each other, communicate and so on.”

“In the past, I’ve tried too hard to empower people. Empowering people is the right way to handle it, but you can empower someone so much that the freedom you give them can quickly turn into a sense of absence. Support “.

“You want to give people the opportunity to make mistakes – not be afraid to make mistakes – and learn from them, but not to the point where they don’t feel connected. I learned that a small intervention, once hand at the right time, it can reassure people and ensure they never feel they’ve strayed too far from the right path.”

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