Aston Martin has a plan to win the Formula 1 world championship within the next three to five years, according to team principal Otmar Szafnauer.
The team completed its winter rebranding this week by unveiling a new-look, predominantly racing green livery on the AMR21, although some hints of pink remain to link it back to its former incarnation as Racing Point.
For Szafnauer, the roll-out of the new look and name is just one more milestone on the team's roadmap to the title.
"We need a good plan in order for us to start today and get to world championship contenders," he said at Wednesday's launch event. "Then we've got to execute, and we're in the midst of that planning now."
The team finished in fourth place in last year's constructors championship despite being handed a 15 point penalty when it was deemed that last year's car was too closely modelled on the 2018 Mercedes.
Szafnauer aims to be 'best of the rest' behind Mercedes and Red Bull this year, while acknowledging that it will take a lot of hard work to close the gap to the top two and really challenge for the title in subsequent seasons.
“The execution will definitely take some time," he admitted. “It's a lot easier to say we're going to be fighting and winning a world championship than actually doing it.
"People in F1 and other teams have said you know you've got to give us three to five years to do so, and we're no different."
The next step in the plan will be brand new facilities at their Silverstone base. Originally planned to be ready this season, ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has delayed it until 2022.
“For the last year we've planned a new factory with new infrastructure," said Szafnauer. "A place to house all of us under one roof to grow the team.
"The implementation of that has just now begun at Silverstone," he confirmed. “Towards the end of 2022 we should be moving into a new factory.
"Within that factory we're going to need state of the art tools that will help us design and develop a car that's worthy of contending for a world championship.
"So that's a few years away," he said. “If I have to look into the future, you know it'll be in the three to five year time period.”
As part of its ambitious plans for the future, Aston Martin has signed four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to help them realise their full potential. Like Szafnauer, Vettel is similarly realistic about the amount of work it will take to put them into a position to challenge for the title.
"It's a longer-term project if you really want to win,” he said. “Mercedes started in 2011, ’12, and only really got into the winning ways with the new power unit when they just got out of the gates a lot faster than anyone else.
“The car wasn’t really that great in 2014, chassis-wise," he added. "It took them another five years to really build a car that was probably considered the best chassis.
"That’s the time it takes, but then everybody has that time and not everybody has done the job," he pointed out. "There are a lot of projects going around, different manufacturers, and in the end only one can win.
"Mercedes has been the one that has been the strongest, so hats off to them. The others were just not good enough.”
But F1 faces a period of unprecedented change, starting with this year's cost cap and continuing with major technical changes in 2022. That gives teams like Aston Martin a genuine opportunity to finally close the gap and catch Mercedes.
“F1 is changing so time will tell,” Vettel agreed. "Maybe you don’t need those three to five years anymore.
“Maybe [the gap] will shrink," he mused. "That’s the hope for everyone, to be a bit closer to the top and not just be on the podium because you got lucky that the guys at the front retired or crashed.
"Nowadays every team in F1 is at a very high level. Errors are practically non-existent so it’s very difficult to force your way onto the top two or three steps of the podium. But that’s what we’re trying to challenge."