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Aston Martin officially confirms return to F1 in 2021

2020 F1 season

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Aston Martin has officially announced it will return to Formula 1 as a full team next year when it takes over Racing Point.

The car manufacturer previously competed in F1 60 years ago. The moves to bring the brand back to grand prix were first revealed by RaceFans in December last year.

The car manufacturer’s shareholders gave formal approval on Monday to an investment of £260 million from Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll towards a total fundraising of £536m in the business.

“A brand with the pedigree and history of Aston Martin needs to be competing at the highest level of motorsport,” said Stroll. “I think it’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in recent memory in Formula 1 and it’s incredibly exciting for all stakeholders in the sport, especially the fans. I can’t think of a better name for a Formula 1 team.

“Our investment strategy places Formula 1 as a central pillar of the global marketing strategy, and it makes perfect sense to rebrand Racing Point for this purpose. Aston Martin has been competing very successfully in various classes of motorsport throughout its history, but we now have an opportunity to create a works team in Formula 1.

“The global spotlight of Formula 1 is second to none and we will leverage this reach to showcase the Aston Martin brand in our key markets.”

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Aston Martin’s participation in F1 will also create the opportunity for “technology cross-over” with its road cars, said Stroll.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Analysis: How Racing Point’s Aston Martin F1 deal came together
“I’m incredibly excited to see what technology can filter down from the racing programme into the road cars. This will be particularly relevant for the mid-engine road cars that will be launched in the future. There will be a genuine collaboration to ensure that our road cars share the DNA of our success on the track as well.”

Stroll’s deal to invest in the company was announced two months ago. Since then the global pandemic has badly disrupted the start of the 2020 F1 season.

However Stroll said the situation has not jeopardised his plans to bring Aston Martin into F1.

“I don’t think there is any area of life or business that hasn’t been touched by this devastating pandemic and the racing community is certainly adapting as best it can,” he said. “Of course, as racers, we are all very frustrated not to be competing, but we all understand the bigger picture in this global fight and so we stay at home.

“The team is also supporting Project Pitlane to help accelerate the production of ventilators. In the meantime, we can rely on video conferences to keep our plans for 2020 and 2021 moving forward. I am committed to Formula 1 with a long-term vision and this is just a temporary pause in the journey.”

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36 comments on “Aston Martin officially confirms return to F1 in 2021”

  1. I just hope they go backrupt for what stroll did to WEC

    1. The indication is that Aston Martin had already taken the decision to cut their WEC programme before Stroll took over: they were already cutting back their involvement in other motorsport series, such as cancelling their DTM project.

      Furthermore, the Valkyrie project was already rumoured to be running into major problems because of the cash flow problems that Aston Martin were having, with development of the WEC car badly behind schedule. It sounds like they were always going to cancel it – there was no money to race the car and no hope of getting a car ready in time, so it was only a matter of when, not if, the announcement came.

      The other aspect is that, in reality, the ACO made such a total mess of the Hypercar concept that most industry experts thought it was doomed to failure. The indication from the press coverage on the ACO’s negotiations is that they basically didn’t really have a clue what they were doing – the initial concept was Le Mans prototype cars that had styling elements from road car, a bit like the Daytona Prototypes in the US, then they moved towards road car derived cars that were still purpose built prototypes, then they came up with the idea of having GTE Plus cars, which would be enhanced versions of their standard GTE cars.

      Eventually, we’ve ended up with a confused mess of regulations that didn’t really appeal to any of the manufacturers they were trying to court and falls into an awkward no-mans land in terms of cost. In fact, the ACO is extremely lucky to even have Toyota left – Toyota reportedly complained to the ACO that the delays in writing the rules package meant they nearly missed the deadline to enter a car for the 2020-2021 season because they wouldn’t be able to build a car in time for the first race.

      However, what has really sealed their fate is the alignment with the Daytona Prototype series. Introducing Balance of Performance rules for those cars so they can compete against the Hypercar class might mean we’re finally getting some sort of reconciliation between the ACO and IMSA, but it has completely destroyed any incentive to enter into the Hypercar category.

      After all, why would you want to enter the Hypercar category of the WEC? It’s significantly more expensive to build a Hypercar, and because a WEC Hypercar cannot compete in the IMSA’s series, but a Daytona Prototype can compete in the ACO’s WEC, you are more limited on the races you can compete in and have to miss out on events such as the Sebring 12 Hours, which is not far off the 24 Hours of Le Mans in terms of prestige in the sportscar calendar.

      The only team that is now building a Hypercar is Toyota, and that’s only because they’re now too far down the line to change their design. Everybody else, such as Peugeot, are building a DPi car because you’d have to be mad not to.

      In that sense, the ACO is more to blame by making it actively in Aston Martin’s favour to cancel their WEC Hypercar – there is no logic whatsoever in building a car that will be more expensive to run than your rivals, can’t be used in as many races and where the rules will downgrade your performance to match that of a cheaper car to run. Why would you want to throw money away on a WEC Hypercar?

  2. Electroball76
    1st April 2020, 12:16

    or Lance’s Dad just played him with the biggest April Fool’s joke!

      1. Planning is for the greatest prank!

  3. Right now, who cares. Aston are just another greedy corporation that won’t start up their own team and instead buy an existing team. Why would anyone want to support such a team?? I won’t be surprised with the coronavirus they might even exit F1 before 2021.

    1. I don’t see Aston Martin as ‘just another greedy corporation’, @kpcart.
      They are roughly the same size as McLaren and closer to Williams than to Ferrari revenue-wise.

      Having said that, I’m not sure that the road car division can support the current F1 activities. And similarly, I don’t think that a budget capped F1 team can support their future road car division.

    2. Aston haven’t bought another team, it’s quite the other way around, Stroll has taken a big stake in Aston, effectively “buying” the brand name for use in his (consortium’s) F1 team. I’m not a fan of Aston’s CEO lying about why they couldn’t enter a new team in F1 in 2021, but with Stroll at the helm, things could be different.

    3. I read this as Racing Point buy Aston Martin, not the other way around!

    4. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
      2nd April 2020, 1:42

      I have the same thought, who cares. This should really be an article about RP rebranding to AM. AM have bigger priorities than to race in the midfield in F1. #1 should be to solve their road car issues and stop teetering on insolvency every 10 years.

  4. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    1st April 2020, 12:22

    I’m still rather cold on this. F1 could do with more independent teams that have character than bland and corporate manufacturer ones, and given how frequently ‘manufacturers’ drop out when success takes longer than they wanted I wouldn’t say this is a complete win for Force Point.

  5. Hey, can we stop being negative? The business environment isn’t exactly conducive for large scale entries, Aston Martin will save Racing Point jobs once Lance Stroll gets a move on, and damn, I’m quite happy to see a manufacturer being back with total commitment. They also bring a good amount of stability and innovation. Apart from Redbull’s 2010-2013 campaign, no non manufacturer has won a championship this century (Had Honda stayed, Brawn-Honda would’ve won easily in 2009, and perhaps, continued the fight at the front with a larger budget than Ross could manage).

    Plus, it’s a boon for attracting audiences. The brand carries prestige, especially outside Europe where spotting an AM is rare. Much more relatable than Racing Point.

  6. James Norris
    1st April 2020, 12:36

    So many grumblers… at times like this, any investment in the sport we love is a positive.

    1. Well said

    2. I agree. People are so hard to please nowadays.

    3. Very true and well put.

  7. “I’m incredibly excited to see what technology can filter down from the racing programme into the road cars.”
    Translation – we needed a way to hide our spending when the cap is introduced.

  8. I am relieved Stroll reaffirmed his investment and the shareholders agreed to his plans.

    Formula 1 is in danger after this economic disaster brought about by the virus. There are real fears for some teams’ survival and others continued participation.

    To moan about a billionaire rescuing a famous marque and bringing it back into F1 is misplaced. How many other possible rescuers are out there for Williams or to buy Alpha Tauri or Alpha Romeo? Which way will Haas jump? This crisis is not over yet and already old certainties have fallen away and more will follow as time and financial pressures go on. Not even the biggest teams will be untouched.

    So let’s celebrate a dynamic entry into manufacturing and future racing, bringing a historic team back and using business acumen to revitalise a historic brand. We need more of it to keep F1 on track.

    1. Agreed.

      When Lance entered F1, I think we all viewed it as a rich dad indulging his child’s hobby. Well, that child isn’t a shabby driver, the rich dad ended up saving a team over a year ago, has continued to invest in the team, and is now growing his business interest in both the team and in Aston. All good stuff, and I think Lance’s interest in F1 might’ve only given Lawrence a specific area to focus his motorsport interests.

  9. I’d love to know how member of the board of directors still use the phrase “technology crossover” to justify spending hundreds of millions on marketing. What really translates from track to road these days? Unless it’s something like that thing Mercedes did…

  10. Great, If F1 can trickle down in to sports car success, then that is great news for F1.

    Mostly this would be ideal, for all teams to do a McLaren and develop a successful road going product, that funds their racing.

    This is why AM is struggling right now. They are making irrelevant cars.

  11. Aston Martin has been competing very successfully in various classes of motorsport throughout its history, but we now have an opportunity to create a works team in Formula 1.

    Now I’m going to caveat this by saying I’m a huge fan of Aston Martin and the cars it produces, but every time they talk about this being a works project it makes me cringe. This is not a works project, it can’t be because the team will use Mercedes Power Units just like some of Aston’s road cars do.

    1. @geemac how exactly do you define the term “works team” though?

      There have, after all, been teams defined as a “works team” that not manufactured their own engine – I believe that Larrousse was classified as a works team in 1992 when they formed a brief partnership with Venturi, despite using engines from Lamborghini, and Venturi was also another company which did not produce its own engines from scratch (buying in engines from Peugeot, even if they did modify them after that).

      Are you limiting the definition of a works team to “a team that produces their own engine”?

  12. Share price hit a new low of 65p on the back of the “ex-rights” related to this story. Great investment at £19 just over a year ago.

    All together now: How do you make a small fortune investing in Aston Martin….

    1. By buying shares now and getting lucky if this turnaround plan works?

  13. The best thing about this is finally that team will have a decent name!

    1. @guybrushthreepwood Is that the secret of monkey island? A good name.

    2. Monkey wrench. I would have called it Monkey wrench.

  14. Will they merge with Brackley in 2022? What PU will they run in 2022?

  15. Sonny Crockett
    1st April 2020, 20:43

    It’s just branding and nothing to get excited about.

    A little like the “Lotus” F1 team.

  16. Sharaf Sharaf
    1st April 2020, 20:44

    spot on! I agree 100%

  17. This is more interesting now that Stroll is also a part owner of Ferrari.

  18. This is great news. You need a lot of nous to make money in the fashion industry, so I’m expecting the new Aston Martin cars to be really good.

  19. Wow, some miserable people browse this website.

    Anyone willing to put money into Formula 1 at a time like this should be celebrated.

  20. There is probably a mistake. Did you mean Astroll Martin?

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