The British manufacturer’s CEO, Andy Palmer, was on the ground in Singapore for the weekend’s Grand Prix, holding meetings with Formula 1 management, as well as the Red Bull Racing Team, which it sponsors in a limited capacity.
Reports suggest Aston Martin is likely to ink a new deal that would see it become Red Bull’s primary, title sponsor in 2018, ahead of a move to supply the team with Aston Martin Formula 1 engines once new regulations come into force in 2021.
Speaking to Martin Brundle as part of Sky Sports’ race broadcast, Aston’s chief shed some light on the discussions, and what the brand is looking for from new regulations.
"I'm over here negotiating what we look like in the sport for next year but it's somewhat predicated on what the 2021 engine regulations look like,” Palmer explained.
“If we can get more theatre back into the sport and if we can reduce the cost of the engine then Aston might be interested in producing an independent engine.
“And with that independent engine – with that destination in mind – obviously it would make sense for us to increase our participation even as soon as next year.”
Speaking to F1 racers turned TV hosts Mark Webber and David Coulthard, Palmer reiterated Aston Martin’s position in ongoing negotiations regarding its partnership with the Red Bull Racing Team.
“We want to be more involved in the sport,” he told the pair as part of the Channel 4 race broadcast.
“We're currently studying the 2021 engine. If we get a reasonable regulation that brings down the cost, Aston would like to be involved. And then of course we'd like to be a little bit more involved next season and then join the dots, but it really depends on what happens with the engine regs [sic]."
Red Bull currently has engines supplied by Renault, however these are branded by Tag Heuer following a tumultuous relationship between Red Bull and Renault in 2015.
Renault confirmed over the weekend it will end its partnership with Red Bull following 2018, leaving the team high and dry for the 2019 season.
Both Ferrari and Mercedes have ruled out a supply deal for the Red Bull squad, with Honda the only other engine manufacturer available. The Japanese engine supplier recently cut a deal to supply engines for Red Bull’s junior squad, Toro Rosso, instead of McLaren, from next year.
Porsche has flagged its intentions to also supply engines in Formula 1, but wouldn’t pull the trigger until new regulations are in place – like Aston.
This leaves the Red Bull squad in the lurch for 2019/2020 without a locked in engine deal, before either Aston or Porsche may enter the fray from 2021. Even then, both potential newcomers could decide against joining the ultra-expensive F1 circus.
Palmer said he hopes the 2021 engine regulations – which many hope could bring back noise, drama and excitement to Formula 1 – to be finalised as early as the end of this year.