Where is Aston Martin going with Red Bull Racing?

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Red Bull Racing have announced a new innovation partnership with Aston Martin for 2018 and this is to entail a new facility at their Red Bull Racing compound with 100 employees and serious branding from the car maker.

It’s an interesting combination and one that has been going for a while. Red Bull were very keen to keep Adrian Newey—their genius car designer—in the sport but he wanted something different so they worked a deal that would allow him to pull back from the Formula 1 project a little and focus on the Valkyrie hyper car with Aston Martin as a joint project in 2016.

Now it seems that the relationship has taken the next step to a larger branding and marketing role as well as other potential future car projects like the Valkyrie.

“Our innovation partnership with Aston Martin has been a pioneering project from day one,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

“Having conceived and created the remarkably successful Aston Martin Valkyrie together in 2016, we extended our relationship this year and are now delighted to further strengthen the partnership and see the team competing as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in 2018.

“In addition, more than 100 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.”

The interesting part of this is the rumors of Porsche entering F1 and many feel Red Bull would be a good team to buy in order to start competing at the top level for the VW-owned group. According to a Motorsport Magazine report, Porsche already has an engine program working to possibly enter F1 and many felt buying Red Bull Racing was the best bet.

The slightly confusing part is Aston Martin’s interest given the cost of the engine development and size of the company. Aston Martin isn’t in the same league as VW, Ferrari, Mercedes or Renault to poor R&D dollars into an engine program and yet, many believe that Red Bull Racing will be without an engine deal after next year as Renault will not re-sign an engine supply contract.

There is the possibility of Aston Martin working with Cosworth on a new hybrid engine they are creating but much of that depends on what the new engine regulations will be for 2020 and beyond. According to the same report, the teams are keen to keep the MGU-H (ERS-h) portion of the format in place and why not? It’s not currently a technology offered on any road car and it is a large part of the reason the F1 engines are so efficient these days. It’s also a fortune to make and very difficult to get it right while damning if you get it wrong.

It’s a fine line and I would argue that you can’t tell the teams to take a hike but you have to reduce the cost of engine development and engine supply contracts. They’re too expensive. F1 fans can be forgiven for not caring as much about the outrageous tech as the engineers at Mercedes or Renault. What is there to be outraged by in having a V6 twin-turbo with KERS? That’s a more eco-friendly format than many of the racing series alive with the exception of Formula E and that’s an all-electric series. Maybe they could even standardize the KERS? Yeah, I know…I doubt it too.

So what is Aston Martin doing? Is Porsche serious about taking over Red Bull? IF Aston isn’t making and engine and Porsche isn’t doing anything until 2020, this leaves Red Bull working with Honda in 2019 and perhaps, just perhaps, if Honda come on song, this could be a really good partnership too? Lots of angles and questions, very few answers.

Hat Tip: Autosport and Motorsport Magazine

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sprawl1

The near future of cars is electric – Germany voted to ban all sales of internal combustion engines from 2030, and France and Britain will join them by 2040. F1 would be mad to introduce a new internal combustion engine in 2021, 9 years before they start getting banned from sale.
F1 needs to become the testbed for this new electric future. Let’s stop messing around with archaic “loudners” and retro engines. Formula E proved that you can make a stock electric racing formula. Now let’s have F1 take that to the next level.

jakobusvdl

Wow! Interesting information Sprawl. I hadn’t realised that the upper house of the German parliament had passed a resolution to ban all but ‘zero emissions’ vehicles by 2030.
I’d seen the UK resolution for banning pure I.C.E’s by 2040, but that allows for I.c.e/elect hybrids.
The German resolution isn’t binding, but if it becomes so, the future of the manufacturers investing in I.C.E’s in F1 would look pretty bleak.

FryDaddy

With Respect, and without taking this down the path on the viability of EVs: It wouldn’t matter if ICE’s were obsoleted in 9 years. F1 adopted a hybrid PU that has only lasted a few years and has made gobs of money off of it despite it’s obvious shortcomings. If they can continue make money using an ICE until the very last, then hurrah for them and for the racing we get out of it. Furthermore, even if ICEs were outlawed in 9 years, one could just as easily argue that it would instead lead to an increase in viewership… Read more »

sprawl1

Engine choice is not an arbitrary decision, it’s about F1’s continued position as the pinnacle of motorports. The fatsest production car around the Nurburgring is electric, and every major sportcar manufacturer is developing an electric sportscar. Does F1 want to be about leading edge or trailing edge technology? As you point out, F1 could hang on to ICEs and still get good racing – hell you can still see good horse racing. We watch F1 because we want to see the best drivers in the fastest cars. F1 needs to have the world’s fastest racing cars. The world’s fastest cars… Read more »

FryDaddy

The real question is: What does it mean to be at the pinnacle of motorsports? You and I will probably differ on that critical question. Some people are hanging their hat on the capability of the drivers, some on mechanical technology, others on power unit, transmission, aero, etc. The pinnacle of anything has always been a compromise blend of all of that and more, with the sport/franchise that makes the correct compromises in the right areas reaping the marketplace rewards. For a variety of reasons that are too far off topic here, I don’t believe that EV Tech is to… Read more »

jakobusvdl

It doesn’t seem that the FIA and the participants working on the spec for the next generation of F1 p.u’s would exclude going full E.V. Be lower is the summary from the meeting held in April this year. “broad agreement for the future evolution of Formula One power units, with all parties seemingly aligned in their focus on: A desire to maintain F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport technology, and as a laboratory for developing technology that is relevant to road cars Striving for future power units to be powerful, while becoming simpler and less costly to develop and… Read more »

fk Bobby Turkalino

I think all of this is about keeping Red Bull’s options as open as possible for 2021. Wonder what Dave Richards has to say these days.

jakobusvdl

A bit of road relevant technology transfer from RBR to Aston Martin?
Isn’t that the point of F1?

FryDaddy

IIRC, Despite being a bespoke manufacturer in their own right, Aston Martin still has very close ties to both Ford and AMG. Their ownership stake in RBR and their ties to major manufacturers gives them a “better than you would have expected” seat at the table with everybody starts talking about what this sport looks like post 2020. One might say that IF you wanted to make a return to F1, now would be a great time, and a great way, to do so.

TheMan

Please define the term “innovation partnership”.
It’d be nice if all of these corporations would learn to speak English that made sense to the common man, rather than coming up with terms that are, virtually, meaningless.
Aston Martin must be in dire straits to think linking up with F1 will boost whatever microscopic image they think they still have in the automotive market.
I think that their bottom-line will suffer because of their ill-considered decision.