F1 rules U-Turn forced Aston Martin change of heart

Aston Martin chief executive admits that decision to stick with current engine formula ended company’s hopes of entering the sport.

Though good with the less important aspects of the sport, when it comes to the bigger issues F1’s new management is clearly struggling.

While the current Concorde Agreement has two years to run, the teams are already growing concerned at the lack of progress on the new contract, though first such minor matters as prize money – and how it will be shared – not to mention doing away with the various bonuses must be agreed.

Though there was initial talk of big changes in terms of the rules, in particular the engine formula, a move aimed at attracting new (and old) manufacturers to the sport, it now appears there will be minimal changes to the current engine formula, at which point Aston Martin lost interest.

“When it looked like the rules were going to change, we did take a look at whether we should do our own engine for F1,” Aston Martin chief executive, Andy Palmer told Reuters.

“But then Liberty essentially changed their mind and continued with the current engine, so we cancelled those plans,” he admitted.

Of course, the decision not to seriously revamp the engine formula wasn’t entirely down to the powers-that-be, for first Ferrari and Mercedes said they were unhappy with Liberty’s initial proposals and then all four manufacturers claimed it made no sense to overhaul the rules at a time the performance gap between them is closing.

Asked about the decision by Red Bull – of which Aston Martin is title sponsor – to switch to Honda, Palmer said: “Red Bull makes its own decision, I’m certainly supportive of that decision. It is a good way to go.”