Aston Martin Not Likely to Expand F1 Program Despite Upcoming Regulation Changes
CEO Andy Palmer says, ‘It doesn’t look like the new regulations will be of interest, sadly.’
Aston Martin has been openly exploring an expanded venture into Formula 1 with upcoming 2021 regulation changes in mind. The British marque currently serves as the title sponsor for Red Bull Racing and was reportedly in talks of developing an engine program to provide potential further support for the Milton Keynes-based team in the future; however, as brand CEO Andy Palmer recently explained to Autocar, costs for such an endeavor are still too high. As a result, it's unlikely that Aston Martin will broaden its involvement in the series beyond sponsorship for the time being.
When discussing the hot-button topic that's been up in the air for months now, Palmer told Autocar: “It doesn’t look like the new regulations will be of interest, sadly. Aston was interested on the basis that costs would be controlled and that the formula would be one part of an equation that would put control back into the hands of the driver."
Despite expectedly cheaper engine development costs coming into play in 2021 and beyond, the budget is still too far out of reach for Aston to make sense of. According to Palmer, it'll take more than the current plan of standardizing some of the engine's more complex components as well as the still-debated hybrid system.
"I don’t see the costs coming down far enough with the regulations I’ve heard discussed and I do see that the opportunity to spend a fortune chasing down a tenth of a second a lap will remain," Palmer continued to Autocar. “At Aston, we love the sport, and we’d love to be involved, but we cannot get involved in an arms race. It’s needlessly expensive and it undermines the sport because whoever has the advantage of that tenth will win. I won’t say we’re definitely not going to do it until I see the final proposal because there are still some areas where there is not enough clarity. But if the door is left open to a spending war, then we won’t be involved.”
In October of last year, Aston even went as far as hiring former Ferrari F1 engine chief Luca Marmorini as a part-time consultant. Now, though, Palmer seems all but certain the manufacturer will end its probing into the field.
As it stands, Aston Martin will continue its sponsorship of Red Bull long-term as confirmed by Palmer. The racing outfit will join its junior team Toro Rosso in utilizing Honda engine supply in 2019 and 2020, switching from its current Tag Heuer-branded Renault partnership that will expire at the end of this season.