Aston Martin Mulling Formula 1 Engine Entry

Michael Accardi
by Michael Accardi

Another day, another storied sports car brand considers entering the Formula 1 world championship.

Aston Martin says it could be interested in running an F1 engine program, but only if the sport figures out how to keep costs to a minimum.

Company CEO Andy Palmer recently attended the FIA’s engine meeting on July 4 alongside Cosworth, Ilmor, Porsche, and F1’s current engine suppliers, Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda, and Renault. Aston Martin already sponsors Red Bull Racing and is working with the F1 team on its new hyperactive Valkyrie project, which will use a Cosworth-built V12 for motivation.

“We sit on the periphery of F1, with the Valkyrie, and with Red Bull,” Palmer told in an interview. “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.”

What Aston Martin wants is a hard cap put in place to manage the amount of money spent on development and the number of people allowed to be involved. Palmer says there are promising signs, but the parties are still nowhere near a consensus.

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“It’s definitely going in the right way. Clearly, everybody accepts that you need more theater 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.”

During the July 4 meeting, all current and potential manufacturers agreed to conduct research into possible engine formats, notably the single versus twin-turbo debate.

“We’ve been asked to study what the impacts on cylinder pressures would be, what the impact on performance would be. Obviously, it’s in our case, it’s a hypothetical engine,” Palmer continued.

If Aston Martin does decide to get involved, it will likely work with either Illmor or Cosworth as a technical partner rather than going at it alone.

“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,” Palmer concluded.

A version of this story originally appeared on Luxury4Play

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