Aston Martin says its decision to enter F1 with Red Bull as part of a wider technology partnership was prompted by it not wanting to get involved in a 'marketing scam' of just putting stickers on a car.

By: Jonathan Noble, Formula 1 Editor

Aston Martin says its decision to enter F1 with Red Bull as part of a wider technology partnership was prompted by it not wanting to get involved in a 'marketing scam' of just putting stickers on a car.

The British sportscar manufacturer held advanced talks with Force India last year when an initial plan to tie up with Red Bull had appeared to fall through.

But despite some thought being given to a deal with Johnnie Walker that could have led to the creation of Aston Martin Racing, the talks collapsed at the end of last year.

Instead, Aston Martin has just announced an innovation partnership with Red Bull to help create a fast Adrian Newey-designed hyper-car that it hopes can lap tracks faster than F1 machinery.

When asked by what had got the Red Bull deal back on track, Aston Martin's chief executive officer Andy Palmer suggested that his company had never been hugely interested in what Force India had to offer.

"We are really good at secrets," he said. "It comes in our heritage. A little subterfuge and a few red herrings here or there…

"We are kind of a cool brand. We attract a lot of attention from a lot of people, and a lot of people talk to us.

"But we are all about authenticity. So you get in an Aston, what looks like leather is leather, what looks like wood is wood. What looks like carbon is carbon. What sounds like a V12 engine is a V12 engine, and it doesn't have any hype on it.

"So authenticity was our number one concern here, and simply putting sticker on the side of an F1 car was never going to cut it for us.

"This relationship and our relationship goes back quite a long time. It is authentic and what you see coming out of it in the first instance is the hyper-car.

"But hopefully other technologies will come out of it as well and we can proudly put the stickers on the car and say it is more than just a marketing scam."

Car influence

Palmer did not want to get drawn into the details of how far the talks with Force India had gone, but said that the decision to jointly create a hyper-car with Red Bull was key.

"You guys [the media] commented about what was going on between us and Force India," he said. "I personally never commented.

"All I ever said was that it was improbable we would come into F1, and if we did it had to be authentic.

"I cannot comment on what the conversations were with Force [India] and others, but I maintain that principle right the way through – that this relationship is authentic, and this relationship I believe will create one of those cars in history that as a kid you always have something in mind."

Future engine plans

Red Bull has pondered the idea of Aston Martin taking naming rights to its engines for 2016, if it had been successful in its plans to land Mercedes engines.

And while that idea fell through when Mercedes refused to offer a deal, the possibility of Aston Martin extending its involvement with Red Bull beyond its current logo presence has not been ruled out.

"Everything is possible," said Horner. "This is just the start. It is great for the Aston brand to be back in F1.

"To have it back with Red Bull is something that we are very proud of. And to have it as a genuine technology partnership, this car will be something very, very special."

When asked if Aston Martin's involvement would influence the choice of engine manufacturer that Red Bull could link up with in the future, Horner said: "We are out of contract at the end of this year as you know. And the choices in F1 are somewhere limited.

"Unfortunately Aston don't have an engine that we can use in F1. A V12 would be nice!! Our engine discussions are separate to this, but obviously in an ideal situation we will find something that will work in harmony and unison."

Palmer also offered an intriguing answer about whether or not his company would have any qualms if Red Bull switched to a rival manufacturer next year.

"I don't think Honda competes with us…." he said.

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