Mercedes decision on Red Bull narrows Aston Martin options

Mercedes' decision not to supply Red Bull with Formula 1 engines next year has left Williams and Force India alone in trying to convince Aston Martin to sponsor them instead.

Mercedes decision on Red Bull narrows Aston Martin options
#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE logo / signage
Felipe Massa, Williams celebrates his third position
Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW37
Aston Martin Racing transporter and logo / signage
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37
Claire Williams, Williams Deputy Team Principal
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37
Felipe Massa, Williams FW37

Aston Martin has been evaluating an involvement in Formula 1, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner having proposed the idea to CEO Andy Palmer and director of marketing communications Simon Sproule of a tie-up with his outfit earlier this year.

Horner had hoped a branding exercise, like he did with the pair when they worked at Infiniti, would clear the way for Mercedes engines, with the German car manufacturer holding a 5 per cent stake in the luxury British sportscar manufacturer.

But, after Motorsport.com revealed on Monday that Mercedes has decided against a tie-up with Red Bull, it means that the team will instead have to close a deal with Ferrari which, as one of Aston Martin's main competitors, would make a partnership impossible.

Evaluating F1 programme

The closure of the Red Bull opportunity means that Mercedes' other teams – Williams and Force India – now have a much better chance of pulling off a deal if Aston Martin wishes to push on with an F1 involvement.

However, much will depend on how keen Aston Martin is to invest the kind of money needed to have a strong presence in F1.

Speaking earlier this year, Palmer had said that while interested in F1, there were financial factors that made such a move 'improbable'.

"The bottom line is that it would be very difficult for us. We as a company don't have the kind of money to go into Formula 1 and make a decent job of it," Palmer said.

"Unless I thought we could be challenging Ferrari in some way, shape or form I just wouldn't contemplate doing it."

Good brand

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams says that a link with Aston Martin would be a good one for her outfit though.

"As a team you always have to look at your options and Aston Martin is a great brand, it is a great British brand," she said. "I think a partnership with them would work well.

"As everyone knows, they are talking to Force India and as everyone knows we have a long-term partnership with Mercedes, and we are really happy with that partnership at the moment. And why wouldn't you be, when it is the best power unit on the grid?"

When asked about the possibility of having both Aston Martin branding with Mercedes engines, Williams added: "We haven't had that conversation at all. But we are pleased having that partnership with the Mercedes brand.

"It is as powerful to us as potentially an Aston Martin badging exercise would be. So we are happy."

Funding boost

Although Williams already has a title sponsor with Martini, the team is open that any chance of further boosting its coffers with fresh deals would be grabbed.

Claire Williams added: "Every team operates in a different way commercially and we have been very fortunate to attract some great brands to the team over the past couple of years.

"One of our greatest assets is that because we are an independent team we can be really, really flexible with our partnerships. I am a firm believer in the adage that beggars cannot be choosers

"If someone wants to come along and sponsor our team and give us £10 million, I will bite your hand off for it and I will give you the assets I want to give you. But I will not oversell and give you too many assets.

"I want that £10 million. I won't say no to it just because I want £40m – I need to keep my racing team going."

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