On the heels of collaborating on the completely bonkers and somehow street legal 1,130 horsepower Aston Martin Valkyrie, the increasingly resurgent British sports car company is deepening its ties with energy drink/space jumping/motorsports concern Red Bull in Formula One. Say hello to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Does that mean Aston Martin is making the engines now? Unclear!
The move had been expected after the end of Red Bull’s contract with Renault in 2018. As we reported recently, that stoked fears that Red Bull may be forced to work with Honda instead, potentially setting them on a path of failure and sadness just like McLaren.
But today’s announcement is curious because it’s more than just a branding exercise—the companies took pains to say that in addition to having Aston Martin as a title sponsor, they are now technological partners. From the announcement:
The strengthened ties between the two brands is far more than a skin-deep exercise, with the expanded technical partnership taking concrete form in the shape of a new Advanced Performance Centre being established at Red Bull Racing’s campus later this year. The new Centre will create 110 new jobs housing Aston Martin’s design and engineering personnel responsible for future sports cars from the two companies. The new centre will allow a closer working relationship between the two leading brands in their respective fields which will see the adoption of both F1 and road car technology.
Said Red Bull boss Christian Horner: “In addition, more than100 Aston Martin staff will service the new Advanced Performance Centre on our campus here in Milton Keynes and it will allow us to collaborate further with Aston Martin on special, equally innovative, new projects.”
Okay, cool. Interesting. Great. But Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer is extremely cagey on the big question, which is whether or not this means Aston Martin will be doing the engines for the F1 cars. Here’s what Sky Sports quoted him as saying:
“The power unit discussions in Formula 1 are of interest to us, but only if the circumstances are right,” Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said. “We are not about to enter an engine war with no restrictions in cost or dynamometer hours but we believe that if the FIA can create the right environment, we would be interested in getting involved.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso has switched to Honda engines and McLaren is going with Renault’s powerplants instead. Your guess what happens to Red Bull is as good as mine.