Aston Martin becomes Red Bull title sponsor for 2018

2018 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Aston Martin will become Red Bull’s title sponsor in 2018, the team has confirmed. The team’s official name will be Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and the car manufacturer’s branding will be featured more prominently.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin’s president and CEO, said the deal is “the next logical step” for their collaboration with Red Bull. Aston Martin became a Red Bull sponsor in 2016 and the two companies collaborated on the Aston Martin Valkyrie supercar.

Palmer said Aston Martin is “enjoying the global brand awareness that a revitalised Formula One provides.” He also hinted at the possibility of Aston Martin becoming an engine constructor in the future.

“The power unit discussions (in Formula One) are of interest to us, but only if the circumstances are right,” said Palmer. “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.”

Red Bull currently uses Renault power units which are branded by watch manufacturer TAG Heuer. It and Renault have refused to comment on speculation the partnership will end after next season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it will work more closely with Aston Martin on other projects in the future. “More than 100 Aston Martin staff will service the new Advanced Performance Centre on our campus in Milton Keynes,” he said. “It will allow us to collaborate further with Aston Martin on special, equally innovative, new projects.”

The pair intend the Valkyrie to be the first in a series of new products created between them. The car is expected to run for the first time next year and be delivered to customers in 2019.

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

60 comments on “Aston Martin becomes Red Bull title sponsor for 2018”

  1. I may be old fashioned, but to me there’s something slightly backwards about a car manufacturer being the title sponsor of a motor racing team owned by an energy drink company.

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more. Furthermore, it’s a car manufacturer being the title sponsor of a motor racing team owned by an energy drink company but they run engines from another completely unrelated car manufacturer but its ok because they brand them after a horologist…. who also have absolutely nothing to do with the engine on a technical level.

      It’s a great team for what they have done for F1 and with their tiered young driver program but my god it’s everything that’s wrong with branding in 2017.

      1. It’s not everything that’s wrong….. You forget that one of the biggest teams is still sponsored by a tobacco company and gets around the ban by hiding chevrons on their car instead of blatantly writing Marlboro.

        1. Personally I think tobacco sponsership should be unbanned.

          1. +1, I don’t smoke, I never have but it’s a lot of money in sponsorship. If you drink a 12 pack of Red Bull a day, you risk a heart attack someday, same with smoking a 12 pack.

          2. Yeah but if you drink a 12 pack of red bull a day I don’t risk a heart attack just for sitting next to you.

            Also I think advertising cigarettes to children is unacceptable.

      2. If the engine regulations make cost sense for Aston Martin, in 2021 it’ll switch, where Red Bull is the main sponsor for an Aston factory team.

      3. To add to the comedy, Aston uses Mercedes-AMG engines in their road cars

        1. So in 2019, Aston will “badge” a Mercedes F1 engine, and stick it in AM RBR?

    2. Any company can sponsor any other company they like. It is their money to spend as they wish. They could make chocolate teapots or leg warmers. I fail to see the problem. So what if a drinks company buys an F1 team, is their money somehow tainted? If Aston want to sponsor a team good luck to them. Where are the complaints about a water company sponsoring Force India. Warped logic time… You can drink water but if you drink motor oil or petrol it will kill you. It’s so confusing NOT! And please don’t bring the murderous trade of tobacco companies into the mix. Tobacco kills. It is designed to kill, there is no upside to smoking or using tobacco. It has no place in a civilized society. It would never be allowed if it was a new product introduced today but money talks. So people turn a blind eye and let it continue.

      1. Nah F1 should bring back tobacco sponsers, we had better liverys.
        How they ban that but allow alcohol sponsers is beyond a joke, but not surprising

  2. Great news. This further enhances AM brand with more racing pedigree.

    Now we need engine regulations where small car companies can compete with the likes of Mercedes.

    Or atleast regulations where big car companies can compete with Mercedes.

    1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
      25th September 2017, 14:34

      Rather, is a step towards gaining some semblance of racing pedigree. BOP regulations are pretty much the only reason they won the GTLM class, when there are far superior cars in the WEC.

      1. Yes. But RBR is a proper racing outfit.. Imagine AM making engines with new BOP regulations, and Red Bull supply thr chassis. It would be good no doubt.

  3. You have to hand it to Red Bull, thinking outside the box and turning a huge challenge into a positive. They were faced with losing Adrian Newey with little they could do to keep him (due to highly restrictive technical regulations in F1). Not only have they kept him by feeding his appetite for innovation with projects with red bull technologies and also have his expertise for the F1 team when required. On top of all that they’ve managed to get a major sponsorship deal out of it with Aston Martin, helped by Adrian’ s involvement with valkerye car project. Absolute dream result for red bull especially when you look at the struggles McLaren have with landing a title sponsor.

  4. So let’s see:

    Red Bull, sponsored by car maker Aston Martin, is actually powered by other car maker Renault (disguised as TAG Heuer). It’s sister team, Toro Rosso, is powered by Honda, another car maker, who will in turn quite possibly become the engine partner of Red Bull in 2019.

    What a mess! Why is Aston Martin so keen on being connected with a team that is tied in with so many other car makers?

    1. But let’s be honest – the point in being in F1 is to advertise your brand. I don’t think any better of Mercedes because the F1 team they bought is successful. I don’t think any less of Honda because they struggle to make a decent F1 engine… If I was buying an F1 car, things would be different but I don’t have to worry about the reliability of the MGU-K system on my car and in the real world, Hondas are extremely reliable.

      Aston Martin will sell more cars through this partnership with Red Bull than they would as an engine supplier and that’s the reason Aston Martin (or at least the people with the money) want to be in F1.

      1. You say the point of “…being in F1 is to advertise your brand”, but then say that such as advertising of the brand is completely pointless, giving examples of Mercedes and Honda. I agree with your latter point so not sure why you assert the first point!

        1. I’m not seeing where he is saying advertising is ‘completely pointless’. Just for him personally advertising doesn’t affect his feeling toward Honda and Mercedes. He also asserts Aston Martin will sell more cars. I think it is quite well known that advertising works. It is what all racing series depend upon and if advertising didn’t work racing wouldn’t exist. Isn’t that marketing 101? The science is in how and where one advertises one’s wares, but surely we know advertising does work. Go ahead and try succeeding with your product or service without telling anyone what you do.

      2. @petebaldwin, with regards to Honda and their reliability, a few days ago the results of the JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey of new car owners in the UK for cars produced within the last 36 months – out of the top 25 manufacturers, Honda only came 17th in terms of reliability.

        1. Honda was never best at reliability..

          We shall see where this implodes.

          Hopefully Honda become competitive someda, and RBR fight for wins and Ric and Ver have a title fight.

    2. Add to this that Daimler AG (Mercedes) have a 5% stake in Aston Martin and there are a lot of manufacturers involved in this little tie up.

    3. Aston Martin has not developed an engine since nearly forever, not to mention an F1-engine. It’s a car maker that uses components from other car makers, they combine a V12 from Ford, tuned by Cosworth, based on an old Porsche V6-design, with a gearbox from BMW. Their core-brand is not about building engines.

    4. You should see what American teams do.
      Penske: runs Fords in NASCAR, Chevrolet engines in IndyCar, Acura prototypes in IMSA (next year)
      Ganassi: runs Chevrolets in NASCAR, Honda engines in IndyCar, Ford GTs in IMSA

  5. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer(Renault)

    1. Are you serious? Aston Martin is small fry in motor manufacturers terms. There is no way they can possibly compete with the renault, or the mercs, of this world. They want to do this branding lark on the cheap as always. Unless the regs make the next formula as cheap as beans, Aston Marton will not be supplying the engines, never mind getting involved cost wise in anything other than as a branding exercise.

      1. Aston Martin run AMG units in their road cars now don’t they? A tie up with Force India would have seemed more logical. Maybe.

        1. Not in all of their road cars. Some are still build at the Ford Factory in Cologne in an Aston Martin branded building.

        2. I think the fact they didn’t join with Force India may be the first example of why they Force India) are looking to change their team name. I’m sure I read somewhere that the fact ‘india’ is in their name tends to put off some sponsors etc.

          Just a theory!

    2. It’s all a bit BMW-Sauber-Ferrari

      1. Believe that was a rules requirement as the team was BMW Sauber and to earn the previous year’s money they had to retain the team name. So not at all like selling your title sponsorship to another brand.

        More entertainingly it’s a brand that is usually mostly AMG engines in the future. But want to build their own F1 engines if they don’t have to spend too much.

      2. @fullcoursecaution I don’t recall BMW Sauber ever using Ferrari engines…

        1. I think their official Name in 2010 was still BMW Sauber due to legal reasons, although BMW had already pulled out.

          1. Correct. They needed to keep BMW in their official name or risk losing their FOM prize money. So the team was officially named “BMW Sauber” and ran Ferrari engines…hence BMW Sauber-Ferrari.

  6. I had a bit of a look at Aston Martin, they are a £16 million company so they will not be designing or developing any F1 engines anytime soon.
    Unless there is some type of interaction with a major corporation e.g. Porsche/AM.
    Just like Ford/Cosworth, if I remember correctly it turned out not too bad.

    1. While I agree that they don’t have the means to develop an f1 engine themselves, I think you have another thing coming if you think that Aston Martin is a “£16m a year” company…

      Here is a link to their 2016 financial results…

      1. In the link you posted it clearly states they had a profit of 16 million. They had higher revenues ofcourse, but you still need to deduct costs from those to see how well you have done. I though I also read somewhere that 2016 is their first year they had a profit instead of a loss?

        1. correct on all assertions.

        2. Profit may be £16 million, but that still doesn’t mean they are a “£16 million company”. Profit is just one measure of a company’s performance but it is by no means the only thing that drives how companies are valued.

          1. We aren’t contemplating “how companies are valued”, we are asking what metric would best describe a company’s capacity to possibly fund a F1 team and/or engine program, and for that question the best metric is pre-tax income. That is the amount of money “left over” the company theoretically has available to “invest” (hardy har har) in a new activity such as F1.

            Of course, it is not sufficient to merely break-even or make a “modest” profit, rather one must earn their cost of capital, and Aston Martin is presently many-miles from that objective.

          2. Projected to have revenues of £785 to £815 million in 2017, an increasing amount over 2016, I would say they have plenty within their marketing budget to put some (anybody know how much? Or is it just easier to assume they can’t afford it from one’s armchair?) into F1 via RBR. They started in 2016, and have obviously decided, as the ones who know their own situation more intimately than anyone, to expand the venture. They’re not only getting more and more exposure through F1, but have the added benefit of collaboration with RBR on domestic projects. Sounds exciting and forward thinking to me.

    2. Unless there is some type of interaction with a major corporation e.g. Porsche/AM.

      Daimler AG (Mercedes) have a 5% stake in Aston Martin (AM), and there would be solid logic in Mercedes loaning some of their F1 expertise to AM when the new regulations role around. AM’s newer models have engines and electrical architure supplied by (read: purchased from) AMG.

      A more successful AM is therefore both good for Daimler as part-owners, and good for Daimler as more AM sales will mean an even more successful AMG.

      Whether any of this happens or not is an unknown, but it’s more likely than AM going it alone in F1 or partnering with any other manufacturer.

      1. Yes you are correct. But would Merc help develop an engine to challenge their on track efforts? Unless Merc pull back.

  7. So, that would be Aston Martin powered by Renault, the folks that manufacture cars sold by-the-ton, including the Twingo and the Clio. OK, good idea Aston Martin.
    Ridiculous. I used to think Andy Palmer was an intelligent car executive.

  8. This is how it goes: A car manufacturer is the title sponsor of an energy drinks-owned racing team that is supplier by another car manufacturer.

    1. Does that mean you’ll want Aston-Martin to rebadge their street cars as AM supplied by AMG? Cause they aren’t building their own engines much anymore either.

  9. I was thinking about the possibility of this last night, and this makes sense to me. Aston Martin have had a partnership with Red Bull for some time now, and they are producing a car together. With all the Porsche and Honda rumours it must detract from their partnership significantly. Renault do supply the engines, but sponsorship wise, they have nothing to do with the team. Toro Rosso have always been quite independent with these matters. They ran Ferrari engines for five years, and again for one year more recently, all while Red Bull was winning championships as Infiniti Red Bull, with Renault engines.

    1. @strontium,
      After reading the latest article by Mark Hughes, finally realized something about this saga been playing out since 2014.

      They have the option to pick Honda PUs from 2019 or during new regulations. They also have the option available to use Cosworth’s if the 2021 regulations make it possible for them to be competitive. They could probably keep Renault units if the terms or situation change by next year. And, in the long term Porsche might be interested too. If anything, Red Bull is keeping quite a few options open for next 3-4 years. They won’t be caught in the same situation they have been since 2014, again.

      1. Good points @praxis – This is what they realistically needed to do instead of burning all their bridges and then sticking with Renault anyway. Especially since that was the only option they had in the short term. The engine rebranding and sponsorship titling may sound a bit silly now, but they are building future options that do make sense.

    2. @strontium, the comparison with Infiniti doesn’t really work though as Infiniti is a sub-brand of Nissan, which Renault is the largest shareholder in – so there was still a direct benefit to Renault for Infiniti to sponsor Red Bull given that they have a financial interest in Infiniti.

  10. Seems like Horner and Newey truly believe Verstappen and Ric will move away if the PU deficit stays the same, and want to promise them something with AM. This does also confirm that something will buy STR: if not Honda – even though they denied – then a private investor. But the announcement for that could be in 2018 as well.

    The end of the decade could already prove to be ridiculously close if Liberty grabs the opportunity instead of pushing everyone into FE. They’re still big names that want to join. Let F1 keep them for once.

    1. None of this has anything to do with Red Bull’s drivers, this is – first and foremost – a strengthening of the Aston Martin Red Bull relationship ahead of the Valkyrie launch.

      Toro Rosso’s Honda deal is Red Bull just hedging their bets when it comes to their 2019 power unit supply. There won’t be any new manufacturers entering the sport before 2021 and Red Bull will have known for some time that their Renault deal was likely to end after 2018. If all else fails they’ll have something to fall back on, but I suspect they’ll be hoping for something else…

      …I keep repeating it, but I think this is Red Bull making small steps towards securing Mercedes Power Units. They came close to getting them before but Mercedes shied away from the competition. However, now that they’ve wrapped up 3 consecutive championships with a 4th on the way I think they’d be more open to allowing Red Bull into their privileged group of customer teams. Verstappen may even be used to sweeten that deal.

  11. It’s not like they don’t have a bit of history doing this, didn’t they recently rebrand some Audi’s and run them in LMP1 at LeMans?

    1. Sorry, Sorry, that was Bentley! DOH!

  12. Giddy with excitement at the prospect of Aston Martin in F1, even if it is baby steps at this stage

  13. So, Porsche McLaren in 2020?

  14. Aston Martin must be thinking

    Hmm Funny charismatic guy with a constant smile,
    Fast crazy team mate who is breaking records and does breathtaking overtakes,
    Underdogs who frequently shows up on the podium and sometimes wins.

    Hell yeah we are in !!!

    1. Your screen name and image are a little like this deal between Red Bull and Austin Martin

  15. I disagree advertising doesn’t matter. Even if you are logical and detached it still gets to you. For example, it is very fifficult to separate name recognition from legitimacy.

    I’ve owned two Accords, but i dont want a turbo because of durability (at least in our commuter car). I also love F1. So when Honda announced the next gen Accord will have a turbo I was logically and emotionally against it.

    My eight-year-old said last season, “Daddy, I thought Hondas were good cars”. So I tried to explain. Many adults might ask the same question.

    I think Honda is hurting their brand and should have bailed out before this session.

  16. Can someone clue me in on how this fits in with the future of RBR as a racing team, aside from the naming rights?
    Will Aston Martin suddenly start making F1 engines in 2021? What about road car engines? Because don’t they currently just use modified Mercedes AMG engines?
    I find it a strange move, and a strange time to start manufacturing ICEs, in a motoring world that’s rapidly going electric.
    What’s the goal here from Aston Martin’s perspective?

Comments are closed.