Currently reading: F1 culture to inform Aston Martin road cars, says firm's tech boss
Chief technology officer Roberto Fedeli discusses Gaydon's fast-changing approach to road car development

Roberto Fedeli joined Aston Martin as chief technology officer a year ago.

The Italian enjoyed a 26-year career at Ferrari, which culminated in him leading development of the LaFerrari hypercar, then held roles at BMW and FCA. He came to Aston Martin to be reunited with Amedeo Felisa, who was joining as CEO – the same role he had held at Ferrari in Fedeli’s time there.

The first car developed under him at Aston Martin, where he oversees a team of around 800 engineers as chief technology officer, was the new DB12

What was your brief from chairman Lawrence Stroll when you arrived at Aston Martin a year ago? And how have you found your initial experience?

"I was briefed by Lawrence to change the products according to the new DNA of the brand. This so-called intensity-driven new definition of the brand had to be defined better in terms of the technology and the specification of the parts in the vehicle. 

"The team was created a year ago, with a good mix of young talent. Aston Martin has a lot of young talent, and I've promoted more responsibility to them, listening to them and giving them opportunities to give freshness to our development, processes and products. Together with guys with luxury experience already, we’re building an interesting team with young talent and experience. 

"My target for this year is around the engagement, interest and commitment of this team to do their best, to talk with each other, to think about the products with no politics or time-wasting, just jumping each day to get better.

"It’s the culture of the F1 team: each day you work to gain a tenth on the competition. We’ve also started looking around us, considering ourselves not just an island but comparing to our competitors with the target to be the best.

"We have a lot of products coming. Everything we learn in the products, the methodology, processes and working together will be seen on different products coming."

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How important is developing future talent to you?

"My target is to promote young talent, pure Aston Martin people who are honed here. I hope they can lead the product development in five to seven years. Aston Martin had different leadership before; next time there's a new technical director, they can come from Aston Martin and grow here. 

"The second target is to build a strong and capable team of technicians to secure the future of Aston Martin."

What attracted you to Aston Martin?

"I don’t think there is another project so exciting in the world. This brand is going to turn into a completely different direction but respect the past. We need the right products and profitability, and we have to deliver what we promise. That’s the other target from Lawrence Stroll.

"If we do that, the company can turn completely. Do that and we get a higher value of stocks and we start developing the business as we want. 

"The real challenge and reason why I accepted Lawrence Stroll’s proposal was that I’d like to give my contribution to create value, to help the company increase in value.

"For a sporty luxury brand, value is very close to the products. With the right products, you create value. You get more money from making and selling products and keeping customers happy to make them buy again."

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Why have you done your own software development in house, starting with the DB12?

"We’re forced to do that: if you don’t, there could be a lot of the market you can’t manage. You're then led by someone else, managed by someone else. All manufacturers are doing this. We’re one of the last. But we have to do it. 

"This could be considered one of the biggest challenges we have. The number of people working on software in the UK isn't huge, and we’re struggling to find people. We’re working with universities and start-ups, and we have an agreement with them to get the best talent we can find. 

"It’s a long journey. We’ve hired 50% of the people we hoped to have hired by now. We need at least 100-150 people and are struggling to find good, young people in the UK. Everybody is looking for them [software engineers], as software is important for all businesses."

How will your relationship with Mercedes-Benz evolve?

"Mercedes is still a [substantial] shareholder and an important technical partner for us. This kind of partnership isn't going to be less than in the past. We’re developing personalisation of the engine, with the base engine and technology coming from Mercedes. 

"Looking for the next challenge with ICE, Euro 7 [emissions regulations], without Mercedes we could be in trouble.

"At the same time, Mercedes isn't just an engine for us, it's [also] the base electrical architecture. We did integration of new components into the base Mercedes architecture [for the DB12]. This collaboration will remain in the future."

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How exciting is the mid-engined project at Aston Martin?

"Very exciting. My last experience in Italy was LaFerrari. I have the experience to do that. The DB12 is the beginning; it’s so important. The product is completely different, not just the components but [also] the DNA and the positioning of the brand to the past. We will consolidate this DNA and start to think of new products accordingly."

How do you ensure consistency between future Aston Martin models?

"Everything in the company needs to be consistent: the quality of the toilets, the food in the canteen, the people, the developers, the people selling [the cars]. When you do the next one [car], it has to be consistent – different but consistent.

"The past is the past, but our chairman has a clear direction and results he wants to see from the company. It’s clear: we’re moving in a clear direction. Not one day goes by when we’re on a different direction to the target we have to get."

How closely do you work with the Aston Martin Formula 1 team?

"We’re using lots of experiences and skills from F1. The majority of our collaborations are in aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics on the simulator, using their F1 sim. Also on energy management. They have very strong experiences for EVs and on carbonfibre. 

"Plus, Fernando Alonso is one of very few F1 drivers who has an interest into the capability [of the road cars] as well."

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Speedraser 12 June 2023

Why why why would they want to change the "DNA" of Aston Martin??? It's what made Aston Martin the iconic marque it became. Why would they change what Aston Martin is? Because they don't understand it, the history, the heritage, what makes an Aston an Aston. This stinks of "branding," which of course is how Stroll made his money. 


"Personalisation" of someone else's engine -- what does that mean? I assume it's merely electronics/tuning. That's still someone else's bought-in engine. That's not an Aston Martin, it's barely half of one. Still an absolute deal-breaker for me, and I say that as an owner. Put the Aston V12 in this car and you'll have a desirable Aston Martin. 

manicm 12 June 2023
So what you're saying Amedeo Felisa is not fit as CEO, just like his predecessor Tobias Moers? Seems to me Aston will die before you're happy.
jason_recliner 13 June 2023

Cars are going to be electric in a few years. Why would AM spend millions making a petrol engine? It's not going to matter whose electric motors are in which cars.

Symanski 12 June 2023

The problem at Aston Martin isn't the technical side, engineering wise they've never been better.   So why do they still not sell?


Answer: Marek Reichman.


Why doesn't Aston Martin do something about their designs that aren't selling?   Why don't they find a competent designer?


Answer: .........


It's insanity for Stroll to continue shouting off about brands yet not making the products desireable.   Someone who's experience is branding cheap Chinese handbags and convincing WAGs they needed to buy that brand.   Doesn't work in the automotive world.   Here you've got to deliver on product.


To save Aston Martin first you need to sack Marek Reichman.   Roll on the next rescue package...


finecast 12 June 2023

Another day, another deranged, schizo Symanski post

Symanski 12 June 2023
finecast wrote:

Another day, another deranged, schizo Symanski post

“I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.” 

― Margaret Thatcher


Although in this case I'm laughing because you've absolutely nothing to offer but abuse.


Speedraser 12 June 2023

Symanski, well said.

bgreenstone 12 June 2023

On the contrary.  I find Symanski's posts to be 100% spot-on.  Reichman's crappy hack designs are what have been holding Aston back, and Stroll's completely lack of understanding of what the allure of Aston Martin is is also contributing.  Aston has always been the Gentleman's Sports Car, and that for me has always been the appeal - it's why I've owned 3 of them, and why I have no interest in owning a Ferrari or a Lambo. They've fired pretty much everyone there except the one person who's most responsible:  Reichman.

johnfaganwilliams 12 June 2023

An interesting post. I'm an investor in AM - not remotely a big one but enough for me to be interested. I've never owned a Ferrari or, for that matter, an Aston - I used to race Lambos but wouln't be seen dead in one on the road. But I do wonder if your placement for Aston is already taken by Bentley? They are beautiful to drive, incredibly capable, have great interiors and tech - where AM have historically been woeful. So can a small company compete or does it go off at 5 degrees to find somewhere else to nest? I'm not a fan of their designs and agree change is needed - but if Stroll can find a niche for his brand: and brands is what he is good at, Aston supported by the current amazing F1 team might just make it. My pension and I are cheering him on.

manicm 12 June 2023
The DB11 and DB12 are beautiful cars, I even like the Vantage.

Seems to me when God offered you eyes, you refused, Symanski.

manicm 12 June 2023
The DB11, DB12, Vantage are all beautiful cars, seems you need a new pair of eyes Symanski.
bgreenstone 12 June 2023

Beautiful, yes, but as beautiful as the previous generation?  Debatable.  The new cars are not a big enough step forward.  The Ferrari Roma showed us what this generation of Astons should have looked like.

jason_recliner 13 June 2023

Nah, Roma is a beautiful car but too fine and delicate for an Aston.

jason_recliner 13 June 2023

Yep, the cars certainly are striking. Bold, agressive, classy, handsome. More 'brutish' than most but still elegant. Reichman has done his job, and done it very well. Now if the engineers can get the tech, quality and refinement right, AM has a fighting chance. God save the queen!