Having the right drivers is crucial to the performance of any team. It's not just about how quick they are, but how they will fit in with the rest of the team and how well they can act as ambassadors for the brand.
For the last few years Prodrive has managed the Aston Martin Racing Young Driver Academy. This programme identifies and develops the Aston Martin Racing factory drivers of the future. While core to this is the drivers' racing ability and outright pace, other factors are key, such as their teamwork, commercial and public relations skills. The winning drivers start their Aston Martin Racing careers with our partner teams to hone their skills before becoming test and development drivers and ultimately racing in world championship events.
FIT TO WIN
Today's race and rally drivers are elite athletes. During an event their bodies are subject to physical extremes of G-forces and temperatures, while they must have great mental strength to remained focussed while driving at 100% for up to two hours at a time. We employ specialist fitness trainers; psychologists and dieticians to ensure they arrive at the start line in peak physical and mental condition and remain so during the race. This means extensive fitness training in between races; travel plans; specific meal plans during races; and having physios in the paddock.
We can manage all contract negotiations with the drivers. Using our experience we can negotiate the driver's package to ensure they are motivated to succeed, while the team gets the best deal. We cover off performance clauses and bonuses; personal sponsorship deals; appearance commitments; and safeguard future options on the driver.
We are constantly collect data on all our drivers. Everytime they step into the cars we monitor more than dozen criteria to evaluate their performance so we can carefully create an index over time. What are their braking points, what are their steering inputs, how long are they on the throttle and brakes; how hard are they on the tyres.
Modern driving simulators have become very realistic and as a result our drivers spend a significant time in them, particularly to learn new circuits or familiarise themselves with tracks they have not raced for a while. All this means that we can optimise the time in pre-event practice, making every lap count.