Back in September, Aston Martin signed on to be a title sponsor for Red Bull’s Formula 1 team. Since then, rumors have swirled that it will also become an engine supplier, but so far, no official announcement has been made. Last month, however, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer suggested that it was looking more seriously at supplying engines. And while a decision still isn’t official, Palmer’s most recent comments suggest Aston Martin is more seriously interested than previously thought.
Motorsport.com reports that the current engine suppliers, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Renault, are reportedly pushing back against the way 2021 engine talks have gone but Aston Martin likes the new direction. If it’s going to join, it doesn’t want to be required to build power units the same way it’s currently done.
“We are acutely conscious that the current incumbents will try to bring the sport towards whatever they have right now,” Palmer told Motorsport.com. “I would if I was in their shoes too. We stick out there as the disruptor, which I like.”
Those differences and disruptions may also include bringing in another company or automaker to assist with engine development. “If we do an engine, we won’t do it by ourselves. We’ll start now to look for partners,” he said. “That’s a partnership from a technical point of view and from a manufacturing point of view. We are starting that study now in parallel to the machination of the regulations.”
Aston also recently submitted a letter to the FIA outlining its vision for F1, with many ideas focused on reducing the cost of new engines. “The main point of our position was to try and standardize the bottom end so an independent manufacturer can buy from other people,” said Palmer. “There’s no competition around that bottom end. Let’s get rid of the heat recovery on the turbocharger. That’s got hundreds of people working on something that is not so relevant.”
He also wants to find ways to lower development costs, particularly by reducing dyno hours, saying, “We’re not a huge company. We have to spend our money carefully, which means that limitation of dyno areas is going to be a key next step.”
Still, despite asking F1 to make some pretty big changes to its engine rules, it sounds like Palmer is more than a little interested in jumping on board. He just doesn’t yet have approval from his own board.
“I see a way of funding it if it falls into the criteria that we have set down as being acceptable. I still have to take my board through it,” said Palmer. “We understand what we’re getting into. I’m a powertrain engineer originally and we have two highly professional F1 engineers, we have Red Bull behind us.”