Aston Martin Reportedly Plotting Return to Formula 1
Next year’s Formula 1 grid could include a pair of cars wearing Aston Martin logos. According to a recent report, the British carmaker, which last competed in F1 in 1960, is reportedly planning to return to the sport in a tie-up with one of the existing teams. Aston Martin, which has had discussions with two teams, would not become an engine supplier, but just a brand partner with one of the squads currently using Mercedes-AMG engines.
In a report published late last week, Autosport said the company was looking to enter a partnership with Red Bull Racing, which would receive Mercedes engines as part of the deal between the Germans and Aston Martin. As you may recall, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer owns five percent of Aston Martin and will supply its future road cars with AMG engines. The scenario was quickly denied by Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, in an interview with Motorsport.
However, Autosport returned today to claim that Aston Martin has had discussions with Williams and Force India, two of the four teams using Mercedes power units this season. If such a deal were to happen, Aston Martin would get its logo on the car’s airbox, the report adds.
When contacted, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer provided a vague response, saying that "...if something drops into our lap and if suddenly those stars align, would I consider it? Yes."
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Why it matters
Though it is not yet confirmed, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Aston Martin is indeed considering a return to Formula 1. With Aston and Mercedes-Benz already cooperating on future road cars, a tie-up in F1 would make a lot of sense. However, this return is more about advertising rather than developing cutting-edge technology, as Aston Martin would have no involvement in the technical department whatsoever. In other words, Aston Martin would be to either Williams or Force India what Infiniti is to Red Bull Racing: just a logo on the body.
That’s not to say it shouldn’t happen. Putting its logo on Formula 1 cars would Aston a lot of exposure. "We have to explore ways of getting Aston Martin’s name known around the world and we currently use the World Endurance Championship principally to do that," he said. I guess all we can do is wait and see whether the Brits will return to F1 or not.
Aston Martin in Formula 1
Although it’s one of the most familiar carmakers in motorsport, having competed in more than 30 editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (among other events), Aston Martin had only a brief stint in Formula 1. The brand debuted during the 1959 season with the DBR4, a car designed by Ted Cutting (who also engineered the DBR1, winner of the 1959 Le Mans) and powered by a 2.5-liter straight-six engine. Its first race was the Dutch Grand Prix, where both Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby retired. The couple raced three more events, with Salvadori finishing sixth in Britain and Portugal. The team failed to score any points.
For 1960, Aston Martin returned with the DBR5. Lighter and smaller than its predecessor, the DBR5 was supposed to be quicker too. However, it didn’t live up to expectations, ultimately being less successful than the DBR4. Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant finished only three times (8th was their best performance) and retired five times. Poor results prompted Aston Martin to abandon Formula 1 to concentrate on sports car racing.