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Aston Martin surprised Alpine let F1 tech veteran Bell go

Aston Martin was surprised that Alpine let senior technical figure Bob Bell leave the French manufacturer’s Formula 1 squad.

Bob Bell, Chief Technical Officer, Renault Sport F1

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

As revealed by Autosport earlier this week, Bell ended his association with Alpine shortly before it was announced that he had joined Aston Martin as its new technical executive director.

In his new role, he will oversee the technical, engineering and performance functions of the Silverstone-based squad and report directly to team principal Mike Krack.

Bell’s switch to Aston Martin ends his long association with his previous Enstone-squad, with whom he was associated through three separate stints in its Benetton, Renault and Alpine guises.

Having been a technical director, and even team principal briefly, Bell stepped back to an advisory role in 2018 to work for Alpine Labs, which was aimed at exploring the use of racing technologies in other businesses.

But his return to full-time F1 duties comes with Aston Martin welcoming the vast experience Bell has as it bids to push further up the grid.

Krack explained: “With Bob, we're fortunate to have recruited someone with a huge amount of experience, with a huge amount of technical knowledge.

“When you look at what we have on our plate in the years to come, we felt that it is important to strengthen our technical department further. And when someone like that with this calibre is available, then I think it's very important that you try to have that.

Bob Bell, Aston Martin Executive Director – Technical

Bob Bell, Aston Martin Executive Director – Technical

Photo by: Aston Martin

“Bob has started. It was a very good start already. We're quite happy that we managed to have him and let's see what this brings.”

Asked if he was surprised that Alpine let him go, Krack said: “Yes.”

Aston Martin was challenging for podiums 12 months ago, but with F1’s field much more competitive it was shuffled down the order in Bahrain.

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Having been the fifth fastest team last weekend, Krack thinks it will take more time to fully understand where his squad really stacks up.

“I agree that we were the fifth fastest team in Bahrain, but we need to wait a couple of races to really see where we are,” he said.

“I think we were quite surprised in qualifying about our performance, but we were also a little bit surprised in the race.

“But the ranking itself, we were not really surprised. This is what we were expecting.”

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