Christian Horner’s knowing smile suggested something was afoot during the recent Singapore Grand Prix, but he still wasn’t confirming what many suspected.
Now, however, the cat is well and truly out of the bag following the official announcement that Red Bull Racing will be extending its relationship with Aston Martin to make the iconic sportscar brand its latest title sponsor, as well as continuing as ‘innovation partner’ from the 2018 season onwards.
As a result of the expanded involvement, the F1 team will race under the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing banner, while a new Advanced Performance Centre will open at the team’s campus in Milton Keynes, aiding the two organisations in the pursuit of new F1 and road car technology.
It is 18 months since RBR and Aston Martin launched its original innovation partnership, which led to the redefinition of automotive possibility with the game-changing Aston Martin Valkyrie ‘hypercar’, which is set to be the first in a line of new products to be borne of the partnership and make its first run in 2018 before being delivered to customers in 2019.
Red Bull Racing is now hoping to similarly redefine the F1 grid by bringing Aston even deeper into the fold at its Milton Keynes headquarters but, despite hints that the link could ultimately lead to Aston Martin – rather than either Renault or new Toro Rosso partner Honda – providing the team’s next grand prix power unit, the sportscar brand’s president and CEO, preferred to look at the short-term benefits.
“Title partnership is the next logical step for our [relationship] with Red Bull Racing,” Andy Palmer noted, “We are enjoying the global brand awareness that a revitalised F1 provides [and] 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.”
The expanded technical partnership will take the shape of a new Advanced Performance Centre at the Bradbourne Drive base, creating 110 new jobs and housing Aston Martin’s design and engineering personnel responsible for future sports cars from the two companies, who will enjoy a closer working relationship between their respective fields.
“Our Innovation Partnership with Aston Martin has been a pioneering project from day one,” team principal Horner confirmed, “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 than100 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.”
As expected, Aston Martin will feature prominently across the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team from the start of the 2018 season.