Aston Martin open to possible F1 engine program
Aston Martin could be interested in a future Formula 1 engine program depending on the outcome of the 2021 rules discussions.
The British sportscar marque’s CEO Andy Palmer attended a recent meeting of the FIA’s engine working group.
He says his firm could only justify an F1 involvement if a lid was kept on costs.
Aston is currently a sponsor of Red Bull Racing, and is working with Adrian Newey on the Valkyrie road car project – which uses a Cosworth developed engine.
“We sit on the periphery of F1, with the Valkyrie, and with Red Bull,” Palmer told Autosport.
“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.
“At the moment there are lots of opinions, and it’s still morphing into whatever the final idea will be.”
Palmer says the engine group’s talks are “definitely going in the right way” but there is no clear consensus.
“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,” he said.
“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.’”
Although Aston has strong links with Cosworth through the Valkyrie project, Palmer said there was “no certainty” that Aston and Cosworth would work together on any F1 project.
“We obviously have a good relationship with Cosworth, and if you’re trying to create a relationship which says ‘Valkyrie, F1, by the way when you buy your £150,000 Aston there’s something in the bloodline,’ then obviously it makes sense to try and bring it all together,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t consider for example Ricardo (supplier of the Valkyrie gearbox), who were at the meeting, or Ilmor, who were at the meeting.
“We were all listening. 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.”
Palmer hopes that Aston will provide technical support if an F1 project does progress, rather than simply badge someone else’s engine.
“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,” he said.