dan fallows aston martin f1 resurgence herbert newey

Will Dan Fallows be F1’s next Adrian Newey?

Will Dan Fallows be F1's next Adrian Newey? dan fallows aston martin f1 resurgence herbert newey

Like most of the Formula 1 world, Johnny Herbert is happy to witness Aston Martin make a significant leap towards the front of the grid, making him wonder if the team’s technical director – Dan Fallows – is the sport’s next Adrian Newey.

In many ways, for the sake of F1, Aston Martin had to succeed when it became far more than a branding exercise; if Lawrence Stroll could not build an F1-winning team, with his resources, contacts and business acumen then nobody could.

Thankfully the clever blokes at AMR found F1’s elusive ‘Magic Button’ which coupled to Fernando Alonso’s thrilling renaissance, their 2023 car has finished thrice, out of three, in the top trio, with a sniff of a win, not a dream, should the pace-setting Red Bull’s have a stinker.

In other words, Aston Martin are second in the pecking order ahead of the next round in Baku, in a couple of Sundays. But can they win constant races and become a threat to Red Bull in the near future? Good question which Herbert answered guesting on Lift The Lid podcast with Billy Monger: “They can because, obviously, the investment’s coming in from Lawrence Stroll who is behind it and is wanting it to be a challenger.

“But it’s not just about spending the money and, I would imagine, Lawrence is aware of that. It’s how you fit the right ingredients into the whole team to use those facilities that they’re building at the present time,” reasoned Herbert.

Johnny: Dan Fallows is a good one for them

Last year the Aston Martin AMR22 was a woeful car which neither Lance Stroll nor Sebastian Vettel could tame consistently, causing the German F1 legend and four-time World Champion to quit; but the AMR23 is a different story altogether.

Only Adrian Newey’s RB19 is superior right now. Acknowledged aero-guru, 49-year-old Fallows and, RBR tech boss, 64-year-old Newey were colleagues at Red Bull from 2016 to June 2021, whereupon ‘The Student’ defected to Aston, starting on 2 April 2022, no doubt largely influenced by ‘The Master’.

During the Lift the Lid podcast, Herbert analysed the upsurge in Aston Martin’s fortunes: “Dan Fallows is a good one for them to be able to get on board but the question is how do you beat Adrian Newey and his team? Because I think what Adrian installs in his team is his mindset. And I think he makes them turn into the creative brain that he is, so you’ve got to try and beat that.

“You can take people from Red Bull, which Dan is an example of, but can Dan now have the same visions as Adrian has?

“There will be someone, if it’s Dan I don’t know, but there will be someone somewhere who will have this more creative brain than Adrian – they’re out there somewhere. You’ve just got to find them. And whoever finds them first is obviously going to benefit from that!

“But if you look at what’s happened since the change from Racing Point to where they are today in a very short space of time they have arguably the second-best car. So the progress has been very big. But of course, one big leap is great. It’s the next big leap to actually become the best which is the hardest task,” warned Herbert.

Herbert in 2016: Fernando shouldn’t come back… what now Johnny?

As for Alonso’s resurgence, Herbert said: “Fernando, unfortunately over the course of his career, has made a few boo-boos with his decision-making when joining teams, and it hasn’t quite worked out. This one doesn’t seem to be a bad choice at the moment.

“It really does seem to be that they’ve got a car that can possibly challenge for that podium. I hope he does – it would be lovely to have another team mixing it with the top three. Aston look very good,” added Herbert.

The Englishman, a veteran of 161 Grand Prix start and winner of three famously clashed with Alonso during the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, when Herbert questioned Alonso’s presence in F1 amid a dire switch to McLaren.

“I don’t think Fernando should come back,” Herbert told Sky at the time.

But Alonso, recovering from fractured ribs suffered in that crash in Australia, hit back with fury on Saturday as Herbert was reporting live for Sky from the Bahrain paddock.”I will not retire, mate. I was world champion. You ended up as a commentator because you were not a world champion…”

Stumped by the confrontation, Herbert retorted: “I know, thank you very much, that’s good, okay. I wasn’t a world champion… Happy man.”