Aston Martin will rely on Mercedes-Benz to develop engines and electronic architecture for its next generation of sports cars. Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, is currently dominating Formula One. Does that mean Aston will give F1 a try as well?
Possibly. The British carmaker is in talks to become a “brand partner” with four-time champion Red Bull Racing, in exchange for brokering a deal that would allow Red Bull to switch from its current Renault powertrains to Mercedes, reports Autocar.
The deal would make Mercedes the official engine supplier of Red Bull, but the cars would have Aston Martin branding. This would be similar to Red Bull’s current arrangement with Renault, where the cars wear the badge of partner brand Nissan’s Infiniti luxury division.
Aston Martin competed in F1 for just two seasons — 1959 and 1960 — but wasn’t very successful. It currently races sports cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and in the U.S.-based IMSA series.
The biggest takeaway from all of this could be Red Bull’s dissatisfaction with its current Renault powertrains.
Back in May, their lack of reliability led Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko to threaten that the team would quit F1 if it couldn’t get another engine supplier, preferably Audi. The German carmaker subsequently denied any plans to enter F1.
Last month, Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz said that Renault’s mediocrity was “destroying” his enjoyment of F1. The comment was taken by many as a signal that Mateschitz is looking for a way out of the current contract with the French carmaker, although neither side has confirmed any talks with Aston or Mercedes.
If you’re running an F1 team looking to switch engine suppliers, though, why not go with the best? Mercedes-Benz dominated the series last year, the first season under new rules requiring uniform hybrid powertrains. And it has won eight of nine races so far this year.
A Formula One campaign wouldn’t really affect Aston Martin’s road cars, but it could affect the brand’s image. Red Bull and Mercedes-Benz have winning reputations, and a poor showing would be a bit embarrassing for this performance-focused brand.