aston martin, valkyrie

Aston Martin: We don’t have 400-million for F1, but if….

aston martin, valkyrie

Aston Martin is a manufacturer waiting on the sidelines of Formula 1 to see if the new regulations, currently under discussion and set to be introduced in 2021, will be attractive enough to lure them into a programme at the highest level of the sport.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, who attended a recent meeting of the FIA’s engine working group, said in an interview, “We sit on the periphery of F1, with the Valkyrie, and with Red Bull.”

And admits, “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.”

But added, “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 is optimistic that the decision makers are keen to take Formula 1 in the right direction, “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…” he added

Aston Martin are partners with Red Bull in the Valkyrie supercar project along with Cosworth who have a historic pedigree in Formula 1. In their heyday – starting in 1967 – the engine manufacturer scored 176 grand prix victories. Only Ferrari have more wins in the repertoire.

Palmer said of the partnership, “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.”

“That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t consider for example Ricardo [Valkyrie gearbox supplier], who were at the meeting, or Ilmor, who were [also] 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.”

Should the rule-makers provide an attractive scenario for manufacturers, then we could see Aston Martin on the Formula 1 grid in some form or another, Palmer explained, “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.”

Big Question: How can Formula 1 attract more manufacturers to the sport?