With added responsibility of development following Honda deal, Aston Martin urges FIA to rectify ‘horrendous’ gearbox pricing

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack feels the ‘horrendous’ cost of gearboxes is something that the FIA needs to look at reducing.

As of now, Aston Martin relies on Mercedes for its gearbox, but their partnership will soon come to an end after it was confirmed that the Silverstone-based team will link up with Honda starting from 2026.

Once that comes into effect, Aston Martin will become a works team and will need to design its own gearboxes.

Aston Martin F1 2023. Credit: motorsport.com
Aston Martin F1 2023. Credit: motorsport.com

Krack believes the cost of building an in-house gearbox facility could be in the region of $9million per season.

FIA has not confirmed its technical regulations for 2026 yet and Krack believes this is the right time for the decision-makers to drive costs down through simplification.

Krack believes that gearbox performance is no longer a performance differentiator between the teams and it can be made by one manufacturer.

An alternate route suggested by Krack is to reduce the number of gearboxes available for drivers each season, a figure that currently stands at four.

“If you look at the gearbox these days and you compare it with other motorsport categories, the gearbox is not a performance differentiator anymore,” Krack said.

Mike Krack. Credit: eurosport.com
Mike Krack. Credit: eurosport.com

“Everybody has more or less the same performance from the gearbox, but the cost for a gearbox is horrendous, especially if you compare it to other categories.

“So in a cost cap world you have to ask if it makes sense that you go with such complicated technology if there is no difference in performance.

“Every team is just writing off eight or nine million [dollars] a year for gearboxes where there is no performance difference at all.

“We have been in talks with the FIA if it does not make sense to go simpler, go more cost-effective from gearboxes with more simple technology, and also maybe less units per year that you would need, in an attempt to just make the whole sport more sustainable.

“Because, say the sum of the paddock is over 100 million a year, you could ask yourself, is that needed? If you look at other categories.

“That’s the reason why we are in talks and why I think, as a sport, we have to ask these questions and think about is it making sense that we make the whole thing a bit more simple.

“The list could be long, but there can be a healthy compromise between keeping some kind of technology like Formula 1 differentials for example, which are unique compared to other categories.

Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Credit: crash.net
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll. Credit: crash.net

“But seamless [shift] is something that you can discuss, the amount of gears you can discuss or size or introduce some some level of standardisation. It’s possible.

“I would not go as far as saying a common gearbox for everybody or same gearbox for everybody, but design specification or stuff like that, just to cut the cost down.”

Although Krack is far from happy with the cost of gearboxes as they currently stand, he is still confident Aston Martin will ensure that it has all the necessary tools to produce its own gearbox in 2026.

“We don’t have a gearbox at the moment. It’s a challenge, we are aware of that,” he said.

“But we are moving into the new building – over this weekend, it starts. And we have all the provision there to build our own gearboxes.

“We are aware that is a challenge but I think over the next month, we will set up ourselves to be able to do that and then we should be ready by 2026.”

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