Aston Martin 'ready' to step in if Honda quits

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Aston Martin has indicated that it is prepared to step in to Formula 1 as a manufacturer in the event that Honda decides to pull out.

There has been growing speculation that the Japanese car company is considering ending its involvement in F1, despite finally starting to find success with Red Bull by earning its first Grand Prix win in 13 years in Austria this month.

If Honda were to pull out then the sport would be left with only three engine providers trying to service ten teams on the grid.

As well as its factory team, Mercedes currently delivers power units to Racing Point and Williams while Ferrari services Haas and Alfa Romeo. Both companies have said in the past that three teams is about the upper limit in terms of capacity.

Renault currently partners McLaren, with the French manufacturer having split from Red Bull at the end of 2018.

It's unlikely that the team would want to return to Renault units in the event that Honda pulls out, leaving both Red Bull and Toro Rosso with a big headache when it comes to engines from 2021.

That's where Aston Martin comes in, the British company having flirted with the idea of entering F1 in the past only to pull back. However this week CEO Andy Palmer hinted that if Honda were to pull out of F1, then Aston Martin might be prepared to step into the breach.

"The obvious place for Aston to become involved in would have been the engine," he told Autosport magazine when asked about possible future F1 involvement. "I think that's a question on whether Honda continues to develop the [current] engine.

"Clearly they have a lot more money and musclepower than we do," he added. "I don't think we're going to muscle in on that while the relationship with Honda exists."

Palmer added that in his view it would be better all round if Honda were to remain committed to F1 beyond the next overhaul of the sporting and technical regulations.

The Aston Martin Valkyrie. 13.07.2019.

"We're very happy with that relationship and we're happy to see it continue," he said. "But nobody knows quite what the regulations will be beyond 2021 and who is going to be involved in that.

"We stand ready from that point of view, with the hope that Honda will continue."

Palmer was talking at a press event at Silverstone for the new road-going Valkyrie hypercar, which has been produced in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

"Our focus is now mainly looking at the development of the Valkyrie, Valhalla, Vanquish series and the exploits in Le Mans," Palmer said.

He added that while a formal renewal of the current partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull was unlikely, the two companies remained committed to working together at some level moving forward.

"As long as they are racing and we are involved with other things with them, we'll continue,' Palmer stated. "I don't think we see a contractual end date."

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