Aston Martin has inked a deal with Red Bull Racing to become the Formula 1 team’s title sponsor from 2018.
The team will be rebranded Aston Martin Red Bull Racing as part of the deal which could pave the way towards a more substantial role for Aston Martin in motorsport’s top echelon.
Aston Martin and Red Bull first joined forces in 2016 in a technical partnership that’s helping to transfer F1 technology to road cars through the development of the Valkyrie hypercar.
With the new deal, Aston Martin will build what it’s calling an Advanced Performance Center at Red Bull’s headquarters in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Here, the two organizations will work together to develop cars and other products leveraging F1 technology.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer (left) and Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner
This already makes the deal substantially different to the failed one one between Infiniti and Red Bull, which incidentally current Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer oversaw during his former employment at Renault Nissan. But we could see even more integration between Aston Martin and Red Bull in the not too distant future.
Currently, Red Bull is using power units supplied by Renault and this is expected to continue through 2020. But for 2021 and beyond, Aston Martin is evaluating whether to develop its own power unit after being asked by the FIA to join discussions on future regulations. The go ahead for a power unit supply deal is largely dependent on the FIA being able to reduce costs.
“Title partnership is the next logical step for our innovation partnership with Red Bull Racing,” Palmer said in a statement. “The power unit discussions are of interest to us but only if the circumstances are right—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.”
Aston Martin has some prior F1 history. The automaker competed in the 1959 and 1960 seasons, albeit in a total of just five races. The debut was at the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix with Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby each behind the wheel of a DBR4, though both were forced to retire due to mechanical failures.