Aston Martin’s return to Formula One after 55 years has been delayed because of the British supercar maker unable to finalize this month an agreement with F1 team Force India.
Force India Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer told Autosport that Aston Martin doesn’t think the time was right to return, with the company’s chief executive officer Andy Palmer telling DailySportsCar.com last month that Aston Martin didn’t want to turn its F1 bid into a mere branding exercise.
“Yes there are marketing reasons for doing it, but the only way to make that story really work is to have a genuine story such as ‘we’re working with this team or establishing this team because of this, this and this,’” Palmer said. “You need to be able to link more than one dot to tell the story to those people you are introducing to the brand that we’ve been racing for 102 years and this relates directly, for technological reasons, to the extraordinary product we have sold to you on the road.”
In spite of this, Szafnauer said he is confident that discussions with Aston Martin will continue in the future.
“Is short term better? That’s what we are still working toward as there is still an opportunity somewhere down the line, maybe even from 2017,” Szafnauer said. “We’re still in communication with them all the time, and definitely it’s not dead.”
Aston Martin has been renowned for fielding GT cars in endurance races since the late 1940s, with the current Aston Martin Racing team running in both GT and prototype categories. But the company briefly dabbled in F1 in 1959 with the DBR4. A year later, Aston Martin pulled out of F1 because of poor showing from its DBR5.
The Silverstone-based team finished the 2015 season strongly, scoring in each of the final nine races to secure fifth in the constructors’ standings.
Force India’s 2015 machine, the VJM08, was one of the last cars to debut in pre-season testing last year, only making its track bow at the final test in Barcelona. But despite this, Vijay Mallya’s squad enjoyed a record-breaking year.