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Volume 10 No. 24
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Red Bull Formula 1 Confirms It Will Be Rebranded As Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Formula 1 confirmed that it will be rebranded from '18 as Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in the "latest step that could see the manufacturer entering the sport as an independent engine supplier," according to Jack de Menezes of the London INDEPENDENT. The four-time constructor world champion announced on Monday that a new title and innovation partnership has been agreed between the two companies that will also see a new "advanced" performance center built at Red Bull's base in Milton Keynes, England. Aston Martin President & CEO Andy Palmer said that moving into F1 "remains a possible future venture for the sportscar makers," although he stressed that the "right environment" would need to be created to prevent costs from "spiralling out of control." Palmer said in a statement, "Title partnership is the next logical step for our Innovation Partnership with Red Bull Racing" (INDEPENDENT, 9/25). In London, Alan Tovey reported privately-owned Aston Martin was previously Red Bull's "innovation partner," a "tie-up that led to the creation of the 200mph Valkyrie hypercar." The deal is expected to "usher in more products" from Red Bull's advanced performance center. Creating 110 jobs, the new center will be Aston Martin's second dedicated design center and "will be used to incorporate Formula 1 technology into road cars." The extended partnership "comes as Aston’s turnaround steps up a gear." In August, the Warwickshire-based business reported interim revenue of £410M ($552M), "nearly twice the level a year before." Aston Martin also posted a pre-tax profit of £21.1M ($28.4M), compared with an £82.3M loss last year (TELEGRAPH, 9/25). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported F1's engine regulations are changing after '20, "with calls for a simpler and cheaper power unit than the current 1.6 liter V6 turbo hybrid," and that could be "of interest to Aston Martin." Palmer said, "We are not about to enter an engine war with no restrictions in cost or dynamometer (testing) hours but we believe that if the FIA can create the right environment we would be interested in getting involved." Aston Martin "is owned mainly by Kuwaiti and Italian investors," with Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler holding a 5% stake, and is seeking to boost its share of U.S. markets (REUTERS, 9/25).

FAMILIAR ARRANGEMENT: MOTORSPORT's James Allen commented the dynamics of the partnership "are based around title sponsorship, rather than engine manufacturing or branding," and the team's chassis are not going to be known as Aston Martins. In that sense, this is a "very similar deal" to the one Red Bull had with Infiniti "during its dominant years" from '11-13. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing F1 team "has a serious problem to deal with in the short term, which is to find a competitive engine." It will lose its supply of Renault units from the end of '18, and "although it is testing out the works Honda engines in the Toro Rosso next season, few hold out much hope" that this will be the "silver bullet that ends Red Bull's weakness in this area." All "the noises from sources with knowledge of the Honda F1 project" suggest that the fixes necessary to change the management culture and make that engine competitive "are not in place and there is little sign of that changing" (MOTORSPORT, 9/25).