Aston Martin currently has a link with Formula 1 as sponsors of Red Bull, who it is also collaborating with for the awesome Aston Martin Valkyrie road car.
Now Aston has revealed that it would be interested in going a step further and starting its own F1 engine programme when the new engines are brought in for 2021, but only if the rules make it cost efficient to do so. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said:
“We sit on the periphery of F1, with the Valkyrie, and with Red Bull. There’s always that question, would you want to enter as a team? Our major competitor is Ferrari, so in that sense there’s a rationale in being involved in some way. But for a company that’s only just moved to making a profit we don’t have the 350-400 million a year that you have to spend on F1.
“If – and it really is the big if – there is a cap put on the number of people or the amount of money that you can spend on developing a new engine, and it’s at a reasonable level, we have a good reason to study it.”
It all seems very hypothetical at the moment and 2021 is long way away, but Aston Martin was one of the manufacturers that was involved with the early discussions over the next set of engine rules and has been researching what the engine configuration would be, though Palmer said a solution is still some way off.
“It’s definitely going in the right way. Clearly everybody accepts that you need more theatre in F1, you need more noise, you don’t want to restrict too much of the performance, but you have to bring the costs of entry down. I don’t think there’s anybody in the room that disagreed with that.
“But the debate is, ‘How?’ The FIA will say, ‘Why don’t you remove this?,’ and half the crowd will say, ‘No you can’t do that.’ So it’s a long way from being a format that everybody will buy into. And I don’t think it ever will be. I think eventually either the FIA or F1 have got to step up and say, ‘This is what we’ve got to do.’”
Palmer went on to say that getting Aston Martin involved in F1 would benefit the brand as it would provide some prestige to its road cars if the technology could be traced the to racetrack.
If Aston did enter F1 it would prefer to not to do so simply by rebranding someone else’s engine and instead having its own degree of technical involvement. Palmer also said there have already been discussions with potential engine suppliers although nothing is being decided until the regulations are known.
“We’ve talked about what might be with various parties, but we haven’t decided. Hopefully it will be clearer in September, and that will allow us to make a proper decision.
“I’ve never been a fan of just simple sponsorship. I always try to get some degree of authenticity, and the more authenticity the better really. At the moment the authenticity comes through Valkyrie, and the fact that Adrian Newey is working with us. But if we can put it in the other direction, and we can find something where we can contribute technically, then I’m all in favour.”
So, could we really be seeing Aston Martin back in F1 at the beginning of the next decade, 60 years after its last appearance in the championship? Who knows, but the fact that Aston Martin (and many other outside manufacturers) have an interest in the potential new engine formula can only be good news for the sport.