Busiest car company chief exec at FoS this weekend? Perhaps Andy Palmer, new boss of Aston Martin.
Aston has pulled out the stops to make this a FoS to remember for the firm, with all the new models in action – Vulcan, Vantage GT12, Lagonda Taraf, facelifted DB9… and new ‘vehicle integrity’ boss Matt Becker.
Cut Matt Becker and, after 25 years at Hethel and his father before him, he bleeds Lotus. We’ve had time with Matt this weekend and what he says about his new job is a must-read – full interview coming soon on GRR.
Meantime we managed to get Andy to ourselves for a quick Aston update, just before he took to the hill in the Taraf.
So what about getting Matt on board? ‘It’s a real coup,’ says Dr Palmer. ‘The key when you are going through a huge transformation as we are is to bring in the best and create the best team, and that’s what I believe we are doing.
‘We have a new series of cars coming, and you don’t know this but I do and they look utterly terrific. It’s important now that they ride and handle like you expect of an Aston. Lots of people can drive fast but Matt knows what good ride and handling are and has the great strength of being able to articulate what he wants.’
Also part of the new Aston team of course is Mercedes-AMG, though still very much behind the scenes until the launch of the DB9 replacement next year. ‘Yes we are taking a V8 engine from AMG but we are in cahoots with AMG, not simply a customer. We are developing the engine with them. And we have the V12 which will always be our own engine.’
With that Andy Palmer was off – to drive (V12-powered) Taraf up the Goodwood hill.
‘It will be very special, the first time I have driven it up the hill. But tomorrow will be special too. Tomorrow’s for fun, it’s Sunday, a holiday. And I will be driving the GT12…’