Dan Fallows knows a thing or two about a winning Formula 1 team, his tenure at Red Bull since 2006 testimony to that, now as technical director at Aston Martin he is tasked to turn Lawrence Stroll’s dream team into a winning force in the top flight of motorsport.
Speaking to the media for the first time since his appointment to tech boss at Team Green, Fallows was clearly impressed with his new team’s impressive facility at Silverstone, under construction and signalling Aston Martin’s intent.
Fallows told BBC he was also impressed with the “clarity of purpose and direction”and collective spirit he encountered: “What I have seen is a hugely passionate and very talented group of people, some of whom have been here for a very long time and have a huge amount of experience.
“The main thing for us is to make sure we draw on that experience and passion and don’t destroy that at the same time as trying to grow and turn us into a winning team.”
At Red Bull, Fallows was part of the incredible journey by Dietrich Mateschitz’s prime project, enjoying the glory years with Sebastian Vettel, enduring the never-ending challenge to Mercedes, during the eight-year Silver streak, and of course returning the team to the top with Max Verstappen; he also had a hand in this year’s dominant Red Bull RB18.
Fallows knows Aston Martin means business with their new F1 facility currently under construction
Fallows added: “I do have experience of what it means to win races and championships and I think really the key message is that you just have to make sure that, in every aspect of what you’re doing, there are no holes and there are no things that can affect your performance as you go along.
“The important thing for us is to make sure that we don’t just replicate what our competitors are doing. We don’t believe that’s going to help us overtake the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull and Ferrari. So we have to develop our own way of doing things and that does take time.
“But we’ve got a hugely ambitious group of people and one of the things about seeing the new factory come together is it demonstrates this momentum, this wish to accelerate the process of moving up the grid and starting to get into a winning situation.
“And I think that’s what’s really going to help us get there is this passion, motivation and belief that we will get there eventually,” ventured Fallows.
The team’s colourful F1 journey began from its roots as Jordan
When Eddie Jordan had enough, his team which was acquired by Midland Group, then as Spyker to Force India in 2008; then billionaire Stroll walked in to buy an F1 team for his son, giving birth to Racing Point which morphed into Aston Martin in 2021.
The team has operated from the same space Eddie Jordan did when he based his team at the British Grand Prix venue; Fallows explained: “Efficiency covers pretty much all of it really – efficiency in terms of costs, efficiency in terms of time.
“One of the things that marks out a competitive team is its ability to turn things around quickly, to go from design to reality in the shortest possible time.
“So there are great leaps forward you can make inefficiency with that type of facility. And obviously, under a cost-cap world, anything you can do to maximise the efficiency of those parts is worth doing,” concluded the Aston Martin man.
Under the influence of Adrian Newey at Red Bull
Fallows can be classed as an Adrian Newey disciple, having worked alongside F1’s acknowledged genius for almost two decades.
Needless to say the respect for the Red Bull tech guru is immense: “I learned 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,” acknowledged Fallows of his illustrious former colleague. “By the time I arrived at Aston Martin F1, I had a clear idea of how I wanted things to operate, how people in the team should interact with each other, communicate and so on.”