Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team is leveraging IFS applications to increase operational efficiency and meet the new cost cap requirements of the Federation Internationale d’Automobilie’s (FIA). The team will use the IFS ERP solution to track costs, guide investment decisions and development choices. It can also now provide evidence to the FIA that it has not exceeded the 2021 cost cap of $145 million. The cap was reduced from $175 following the impact of the pandemic. By 2023 the cap will be reduced further, to $135 million.
This partnership can trace its origins back to 2019 when IFS announced a multi-year partnership with SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team. Racing Point was renamed Racing Point Force India F1 Team in 2019 and was rebranded to Aston Martin for the 2021 season, bringing an iconic name back to the sport.
It was in 2019 that Aston Martin started the implementation of IFS. Then, the financial reporting was produced by IFS, replacing a solution that did not meet its needs. It also rolled out the ERP to support the production team operations. At that time Robert Yeowart, Aston Martin F1 Chief Financial Officer, commented: “The fit was right, it felt right and subsequently we have proven that that fit is right for that business”
IFS steps up for the new regulations
Importantly, IFS will allow the team to show the FIA in real-time both the amount it has spent to date and a forecast. Thus ensuring that the team is unlikely to break the cap. Yeowart commented: “The FIA can come and audit us at any time. They can scrutinize our accounts—examining everything we’ve spent, when and where. The new reporting requirements are demanding.
“Alongside the technical and competition compliance, we’re used to, the body is looking for anomalies and trends to expose any team operating beyond the defined cost cap parameters. We have to be ready to supply the evidence and audit trails to support any inspection.”
In the past F1 teams have striven to improve performance with few cost concerns. Today, with a cap imposed, innovation, while arguably constrained, is done so with cost efficiency in mind. Will cost limits inhibit innovation? Or, will it help to drive it in a way that will help the wider automotive and other industries?
Leveraging IFS from the factory to the track
Aston Marton F1 is due to open its purpose-built factory at the end of 2022. It is being built on the old factory site, but the build was delayed due to Covid. IFS enables Aston Martin to accurately track every component the team uses from the moment it is ordered, stored and used.
As Yeowart added, “IFS has given us the perfect platform to build on. It enables us to really understand where we’re spending our money by detailed cost analysis, which we couldn’t do before. We can track our inventory and answer questions like ‘what parts do we have available to us?’ What state are they in? How many parts are in the building, and how much does each cost?”
Aston Martin will use IFS to provide it with a “pound-for-lap-time” ratio analysis. This will help it analyse which components help deliver the fastest lap times in the most cost-effective manner. Importantly that may also help it drive down costs in its supply chain. Its suppliers will also need to consider cost efficiency in creating those components. It should help promote innovation but in a broader context. Aston Martin will now have the ability to analyse the improvements of each development projects against its total cost.
In the new F1 era, Yeowart believes IFS and its other partners can help it succeed. Yeowart added: “Against a cost-cap environment, we have the perfect opportunity alongside our IFS system to really focus on efficiency, optimization and, ultimately our purpose: helping over 1,000 people to create, within regulated constraints and spends, the highest possible performance for our F1 competition cars.”
Inventory management critical
Aston Martin will also leverage the IFS Supply Chain Management, which includes its inventory management solution to track where and when parts are used. The latter is especially important. Parts used in subsequent years will need allocating to the correct accounting year by the FIA. Barcoded components will enable Aston Martin to track when it was purchased and, more importantly, used.
Yeowart added: “We know exactly where our inventory is, when we first used a part, how many kilometers it’s done, how much life it has left and when we need to be considering a spare or replacement. Towards the end of the season, all this is absolutely critical as we may have had accident damage and be up against the cap.”
Having leveraged IFS for several years, IFS continues to help Aston Martin. Yeowart added, “IFS can help my team meet the cost cap regulations through improving our planning, our data and our analytics. It helps us understand where we’ve spent our money so far, what we’ve left to spend against the cap and how we plan to spend it.
“It lets us analyze where we’re adding performance on the car, and if that’s the best use of our capped resources. And it ensures that, when we report to the FIA, we are 100 per cent sure that the information we provide is accurate and exactly what is required.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Innovations first introduced in F1 are now seen more widely in road cars. They include active suspension, traction control, carbon fibre construction, advanced aerodynamics and semi-automatic paddle gearboxes. In addition, the research on both safety and tyres has impacted the motor industry significantly.
IFS is also no stranger to innovation, with its IFS Labs continuously working on the latest technology developments. In combination with an F1 team, it will be interesting to see what emerges. Not just to benefit Aston Martin but also for the wider IFS community.
While this is not a new relationship, it is entering a new chapter. It demonstrates how the flexibility and cost control features within IFS can help what has suddenly become a highly regulated industry from a financial perspective. In IFS Aston Martin has a partner that can help it meet and excel with the new challenges it faces.
Oliver Pilgerstorfer, Chief Marketing Officer, IFS, commented, “Effectively capturing and handling data is crucial for high-performing businesses like Aston Martin F1. The sport of Formula One is all about precision, which is relevant across the whole value chain, where hundreds if not thousands of separate processes need to be perfectly orchestrated to ensure success on race day—that’s the moment of service when everything comes together. IFS is proud to empower many of the world’s most respected brands to operate at peak performance, often in highly regulated industries where compliance, traceability and quality assurance truly matter.”