Aston Martin has never hidden its desire to be the best team. Repeated podium finishes in the first part of the season speak of important progress, but the road still remains for a long time, not only in terms of performance. The Silverstone team is currently a Mercedes customer in terms of power units and rear suspension. Dependence on an outside manufacturer limits Aston Martin’s design independence, but this will change in 2026.
Client team limits
Luca Furbatto, Aston Martin’s Director of Engineering, highlights how being an independent team is increasingly important in Formula 1: “In the past it was not like this, but since the introduction of hybrid power units only official teams have won the World Championship.” Since 2014, only Mercedes and Red Bull have been crowned world champions, the latter benefiting from an exclusive relationship with Honda. The reasons for the official team’s success alone, however, are not just technical. In the increasingly difficult and expensive Formula 1, so far other teams have not caught up necessary resources and infrastructure compete at the same level, except Ferrari alone.
However, building a power unit at home or working exclusively with a manufacturer certainly has its advantages. For example, the engine design is agreed together with the chassis department, finding the best compromise between the performance of the power unit and the aerodynamic performance. However, McLaren, another Mercedes customer team, is satisfied with its current customer relationship, which is set to continue for a long time to come. The situation is different for Aston Martin, which is different from the Woking team He also bought the transmission and rear suspension from Mercedesa situation that limits the freedom of design.
“We are very happy with what we are receiving from Mercedes”explains Furbatto. “However, in terms of the design of the car, we are guided in part by the High Performance Powertrains department. We get the dimensions of the power unit, the gearbox and the rear axle, so we have to modify the structure of our machine for what they give us.” The geometry of the rear suspension, for example, is important to improve the flow passage collected by the intestines towards the distributor. The current AMR23 concept, inspired by Red Bull, would go well with push-rod suspension, but in 2023 Aston Martin is tied to a pull-rod supplied by Mercedes.
Change home in 2026
At Silverstone we are working to get more freedom in the future. In 2026 Aston Martin will make the gearbox directly in-house, while the engine will be manufactured by Honda, with which however close cooperation has already begun as an exclusive dealer: “Starting in 2026, with our Honda gearbox and power unit, we will be in control of our destiny. If we want to take the next step towards victory, this is what we have to do.”
Developing the gearbox in-house will ensure great freedom for designers, but to reach this long stage of preparation is required on a human and infrastructure level. Furbatto continues: “The last time this team changed itself was in 2008 and things have changed since then. We hire and develop our skills in this area and we have already brought in several talented engineers. The team for this project is growing, but the work, carried out by a combination of internal resources and external suppliers, is moving quickly.”
Preparing to create a transmission and rear suspension requires a large financial cost. However, once independence is achieved, in addition to the technical benefits the team will also benefit cost reduction, no longer need to buy equipment from abroad. Another team that took a similar approach was Alfa Romeo, which, despite buying the gearboxes from Ferrari, developed the rest of the rear end in-house. This is what the then technical director Jan Monchaux spoke about in 2022: “We don’t use anything from Ferrari other than the power unit and the transmission. We have narrowed down the range of transmission, developed our own tank, our external design of the gearbox and our rear suspension. All this for two reasons. The first is for the budget cap , because for us it is better to go in this direction. In addition to this is that it also gives us more freedom to develop our concept without being forced by the work of our Italian friends.
the arrival of Honda
In addition to the in-house production of the transmission and gearbox, Aston Martin’s design freedom will increase thanks to the exclusive partnership with Honda. The Japanese engineer is already in contact with Silverstone mechanics to agree on specification guidelines and engine placement, helping the team to get closer to the goal of being the top team. Furbatto concludes: “We started face-to-face meetings with Honda immediately after the announcement and we update regularly. It’s still early days for them, but the 2026 engine is changing fast. We exchange ideas and they respond in a very positive way.”