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WELCOME TO THE MACHINE

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and DMG MORI extend Innovation Partnership for three more years.

What turns a Formula One car into a winning Formula One car? The armchair reaction tends to be ‘horsepower and downforce’ but the reality of operating at the sharp end of F1 is that everything contributes to victory. It’s horsepower and downforce and chassis and strategy; it’s the skill of the drivers; the graft in the garage; the talents of the designers; it’s also the ultra-efficiency of the factory.

That last bit sometimes gets overlooked – but the smooth operation of the workshops, the machining halls, the test benches and autoclaves is just as vital to success as a record-breaking pitstop or a gutsy overtaking move. Make no mistake: a Formula One factory that’s working well is a supercharger for channelling talent and technology in at one end and shipping out magnificent racing machines at the other. 

And this is why we’re very happy to announce a further three-year extension to our Innovation Partnership with DMG MORI. They have been supplying our factory with CNC cutting machine tools since 2004 and have been an Innovation Partner of ours since 2012 – not only supplying Aston Martin Red Bull Racing with excellent machinery but working with us to improve our operation. We currently use 18 giant DMG MORI machines, with two ultra-high-tech 5-axis mills due to be installed before the end of the year.

A Formula One car has many thousands of unique parts, the majority of which are machined or otherwise fabricated in-house. Given the pace of development within the sport, those parts are constantly being re-designed, upgraded and superseded by something a tiny fraction of a percent better. Thus, our factory operation runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Apart from the FIA-mandated two-week summer shutdown, there is never a moment when the cutting tools are silent.

And this is why robust, reliable and efficient equipment is an essential part of the operation. We extract the maximum from our kit – far more than a conventional machine shop ever would – because we can’t afford to lose the development race; can’t afford to fall behind on the upgrade path. That’s where our Innovation Partnership with DMG MORI has been vital to our successes: not only do they supply us with the most precise and technically advanced equipment on the market; they also have a masterplan for servicing and supporting our mills and lathes, ensuring maximum reliability and minimal downtime. With their input, we’ve had a massive increase in output, purely through process improvements.

“We are excited to extend our Innovation Partnership with DMG MORI,” says Jamie Meades, our Head of Manufacturing. “Having worked with the DMG MORI team since 2004, this renewal means we can build on the relationship to ensure we deliver our continuous improvement plans in the production of components crucial to the performance of our cars.”

Contrary to popular belief, F1 cars are not machined from billets of pure unobtainum – though our designers would wish it otherwise – but the range of materials our mills and lathes have to deal with is eclectic, to say the least. We deal in carbon composites, titanium, magnesium, aluminium and steel – but also at the exotic end of the spectrum, with materials such as PEEK (polyether ether ketone – an organic thermoplastic) and Densamet (an ultra-heavy tungsten alloy used for ballast blocks). Our equipment from DMG MORI copes with it all.

Managing Director of DMG MORI (UK) Steve Finn adds, “We are proud to extend the Innovation Partnership for a further three years, continuing our long relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and, we are delighted that the technology and service we bring to the partnership is so highly valued.”