Aston Martin Weighing Formula One Option For 2021
CEO Andy Palmer says it all boils down to cost.
After showing signs of interest at a Formula One engine meeting in July, Aston Martin is reportedly still considering joining the series in 2021. Company CEO Andy Palmer expressed the brand's potential investment in F1, but told that there is a list of factors that play into the decision, the key being entry and maintenance costs. But if the series can create a system to get those aspects under control, Palmer says that the marque has "a good reason to study it," according to Motorsport.
As Aston Martin has just now started to overcome its former financial troubles, entering Formula One could take a significant portion of the brand's budget -- one that has already struggled to fund its own road car engine development. But as Palmer noted, the automaker already has its toes wet in the F1 scene, which could play in its favor if a spending cap is put in place.
"We sit on the periphery of F1, with the Valkyrie, and with Red Bull," as Aston is currently a partial sponsor for the team. "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."
He continued, "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."
While this could be a long time coming, Aston is being patient as the sport is slated to make big changes within the next five years. New engine regulations are being pushed for by 2021, and if these stipulations are included in the revisions, we could very well see the brand in Formula One.
"It's definitely going in the right way," Palmer said. "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.'"
This would be an interesting move for the British automaker as its European counterparts like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz have all jumped aboard Formula E. That being said, Aston does tend to lean on the purist's side of things as it keeps enthusiast options like the V12 and manual gearbox alive in its production lineup, so maintaining Le Mans efforts and adding on Formula One could be a step in the right direction for the brand.