Could Cosworth, Red Bull and Aston Martin challenge Mercedes?

The Formula 1 world has often remarked at how much more efficient the Mercedes or even Ferrari ecosystem is with chassis and engine development working abreast and in concert with each other and given the performance results, that would be hard to argue with.

It was often cited as one of the main reasons for the recent domination of Mercedes. With this thought in hand, could a partnership or joint venture challenge a completely internal ecosystem in F1?

In particular, could a superior chassis maker in Red Bull Racing combine with a smaller car manufacturer called Aston Martin as well as a smaller engine maker in the form of Cosworth to challenge the might of Mercedes? That’s what is being discussed and I am curious if the three entities can create a R&D and investment structure to compete with the likes of Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari. Cosworth Bruce Wood said:

“We would like to work with that partnership,” Wood said.

“We’ve done a lot of work with Aston for many years, we’re working very closely with Red Bull and the team for the Valkyrie [hypercar], so there’s a certain logic to it.

“Aston have been very clear that they want to be doing something more than just badging someone else’s engine.

“They also don’t aspire to designing it all themselves, so there’s a natural fit there and certainly that’s where some of those discussions are happening.

“Aston and Red Bull have a very strong relationship, so there’s definitely a desire to do something together there.”

Now, this concept is more than just Red Bull’s F1 program. It is in concert with Aston’s road cars etc. How effective could this tie-up be, though? Could Cosworth and Aston team to create a competitive engine for Red Bull and when coupled with their chassis take on Mercedes?

The fact is, Red Bull are going to have to do something as their Renault engine supply contract is up at the end of this season. Many suspect they will move to Honda as a stop-gap measure until the 2021 regulations are set and then perhaps move to an Aston/Cosworth creation. That may only happen if the regulations are changed to allow for a more affordable power unit though. Aston has made that clear in the past.

I’m curious to see if a privateer program or joint venture could take the battle to Mercedes. A lot of that will hinge on Ross Brawn and the FIA getting the right regulation set for 2021.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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Tom Firth

Cosworth, Ilmor etc etc have the capabilities but if it is going to be competitive, it needs the same budget, research, design, build and testing timeframes that manufacturers like Mercedes have.

If Aston Martin/Red Bull don’t give Cosworth the green-light to begin designing it at least two and a half years before the regulations at due, it doesn’t stand much chance of been competitive out of the box. It needs to be ready for testing 14/15 months before the start of the 2021 season.

sunny stivala

Let’s forget about Aston Martin because all their boss had was just a rush of blood to the head, Cosworth and Ilmor have neither the know how nor the resources and finances to produce a present day competitive power unit, and that is why they push for less complicated and standardized power unit.

Tom Firth

Exclusively by themselves. They don’t have the finances to produce it. With some large backers paying them to produce it, it is entirely possible and Red Bull and Aston Martin combined, not alone have potentially enough money to make outsourcing to Cosworth work.

sunny stivala

TOM, “Exclusively by themselves, they don’t have the finances to produce it”. and I say neither the know how. At present I regard Illien more relevant to F1 than Cosworth and even so he himself after explaining in detail what Liberty was pushing out re the 2021 power unit in a recently exclusive interview with “” he declared that even with what Liberty is proposing for 2021 it is not feasible for him to compete, not even with a guaranteed two team supply, because specification power unit parts/components will only result in pushing spending into other power unit parts, mostly… Read more »

Tom Firth

Yes, you say they don’t have the know how. We’ve established that. I question that given Cosworth was preparing for the 2014 regulations, the company must of had the know how, or know suppliers and groups which they could work with who did have the know how to produce engines for the current hybrid era, otherwise VW wouldn’t have bothered working with them on a stillborn project in the first place. What the customers are and the number of them if this project was to exist is entirely hypothetical as is at the moment. Red Bull would be one, would… Read more »

sunny stivala

At the time (2013-14″ Cosworth was said to have been working on the new for F1 power unit, Cosworth was already as good as irrelevant to F1 among the F1 manufacturers competing in F1

sunny stivala

What I cannot understand is what some people expect AM to or can offer or contribute apart from a name to a dreamed-up F1 PU joint venture with RB and Cosworth.
As to Cosworth, in my opinion they are as good as irrelevant re a modern day PU.



sunny stivala

“Money” could be if they turn to printing money instead of buying engines for their own road cars.


Sure, why not. Pool their resources to help a new team get into the system, let the new team pick the drivers, hire the pit crew, and so on, and they’re in business. It’s almost like the way Haas came in as a customer team. They still did some of the work but they did buy from someone (Ferrari) for some of the parts.

sunny stivala

Thursday 18 strategy group meeting.
Front wing, pusher Ross Brawn. FERRAI 1 Ross brawn 0.
Three engine rule, pushers RBR. Ferrari, Mercedes 1 RBR 0.


Hi Sunny,
I’d overlooked this post.
Have you got a bit more detail about the meeting and that proposals to do with front wings, and the 3 engine rule?
Also who are the members of the strategy group?

sunny stivala

JAKO, “Simplified front wing for 2019 to aid overtaking” pusher Ross Brawn. Before Brawn had even finished speaking FERRARI jumped-in threating to veto. And a note here, contrary to many believe FERRARI rarely ever made use of their right to veto. This goes to show how precarious and worrying the present situation is between the manufacturers “and FERRARI in particular” and the commercial rights holders “with Ross Brawn in particular”. “The 3 engine rule” for 2018, pusher RBR, once again before they even finished speaking and wasting everybody’s time it was once again pushed to rest by FERRARI and Mercedes.… Read more »

sunny stivala

Re the above 2 items in question, front wing and 3 engine rule, my opinion only. There was no need for a vote to be taken. The “wing”, FERRARI killed the possibility of a vote being taken by making use of their right to veto, not that the FIA (6 votes) or any other team except RBR and mclaren (Zak Brown) have the appetite to add /aid or give any more power to the commercial rights holders to bulldoze themselves any more than they already trying too over F1 racing. The “three engine rule” for the above reasons, the FIA… Read more »


That’s very interesting Sunny, the politics of F1 are very complex.
On the 3 engine rule, RBR, plus FIA (6), plus LM (6), could have outvoted Ferrari and Mercedes to allow a larger number of p.u elements.
Any idea why FIA and L.M wouldn’t support RBR on this?
Especially if they want to ‘spice up the show’, and avoid fan backlash about penalties.

sunny stivala

I have no doubt that LM would have supported RBR if it wasn’t going to be futile with just 7 votes against 12. because the FIA wasn’t going to add anything to what LM came head first into F1 pretending.

sunny stivala

Further to the decisions taken/reached at the strategy group re sporting and technical rules and regulations, taken by votes, a simple majority. Decisions then goes on to the formula 1 commission to approve or reject the proposal/s (basically a rubber stamp body). Note a not so often rejection I know of happened in 2016, it was a rule in respect of tyre usage in F1, this rejection was by an “alliance” of the eight race promoters and the sponsor “Rolex” at the time it was suggested that this rejection was done so that there will be “evidence” that the F1… Read more »