With engine supplier changes happening left and right in the sport, another legendary car manufacturer looks to take the plunge in F1 – Aston Martin.
For what it’s worth, the dumpster fire that was the McLaren-Honda has kickstarted a conversation over the nature of car-constructor/engine-manufacturer relations. And with all the hubbub circulating about the new regulations in 2021, there are already parties that may be interested in joining much sooner – Aston Martin being chief among them.
The historic British luxury car manufacturer has been participating in the periphery of F1 for quite some time now. As one of the supporting brands behind Red Bull, the Aston Martin brand has found itself on the RB13’s livery this year – sitting pretty on the center of the front wing – but bigger things may be in store soon.
Red Bull’s chief executive, Andy Palmer, has had some interesting beans to spill over the possibility of Aston Martin’s switch to an independent engine manufacturer – citing lower costs and increased theatrics as prerequisites for the brand to enter F1. Still, Palmer admits that the looming regulation changes in 2021 will influence the outcome:
“I’m negotiating what we look like in the sport for next year but it’s somewhat predicated on what the 2021 engine regulations look like.
If we can get more theatre back into the sport, and if we can reduce the cost of the engine, then Aston might be interested in producing an independent engine.
And with that independent engine, with that destination in mind, it would make sense for us to increase our participation, even as soon as next year.
Hopefully we will know [about the new regulations] by the end of the year.” – Andy Palmer
It’s been over fifty years since Aston Martin appeared in Formula One, and to see them on the table as soon as 2018 is somewhat shocking. Then again, the speed that F1 moves at is nothing but fast. With Renault likely dedicated the majority of their developmental horsepower to its factory team and now McLaren, Red Bull is right to do all they can to avoid being stuck with Honda.
An Aston Martin return sounds promising, but highly unlikely under the current payment distribution scheme. It’s no secret that their global presence pales in comparison to the likes of other F1 manufacturers, but with signs that Liberty Media doing all they can to turn the sport into a more evenly-balanced playing field, there may be hope for them yet.
It all looks fairly wishy-washy at the moment, and one would be tempted to throw out the theory as half-baked – if it wasn’t for Christian Horner’s cocksure smile and suggestion at some sort of a secret plan with a manufacturer closer to home.
Given that this news comes on the heels of Porsche’s announcement of their interest in the sport, it truly does show that F1’s new ownership is doing all in their power to create a new atmosphere where teams that may have previously not stood a chance can flourish. It’s still a way away from manifesting into something tangible – but here’s hoping to a revitalized F1 scheme.