Ferrari could be persuaded to stay in F1 by Aston Martin entry, says CEO

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A return for Aston Martin into Formula 1 in 2021 could persuade Ferrari to not follow through on their quit threat, according to CEO Andy Palmer.

The British sportscar maker is waiting in the wings to start full development on an engine and become a supplier when the new rules come into effect in three years time, however, the negotiations on the engine type continue after initial proposals were met by great scepticism by their Italian counterparts.

With the prospect of a road car and GT racing rival coming into F1 though, Palmer believes that changes the thinking of all parties involved.

“Liberty [Media] obviously want a new engine [for 2021]. They want to move the sport on,” Palmer told F1 Racing. “The incumbent teams don’t want to change the engine very much.

“In the old world, they would have won, wouldn’t they? But now they’ve got someone sitting behind them saying, ‘If you write the rules like this, we might be interested in providing an engine’. Now there’s an alternative.

“Now, when Ferrari threaten to leave the sport, Liberty can go, ‘well, Aston and Ferrari, same kind of space, same kind of customer type, maybe it’s not such a bad thing if you want to leave’.”

Aston Martin has been gradually increasing their presence in F1 in recent years, partnering up with Red Bull in 2016 and now are the title sponsor for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

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What Palmer does concede though, is hurdles remain to overcome before they can fully come back as an engine maker. 

“I’m not under any illusions about how difficult doing an F1 engine would be – I’m a powertrain engineer originally,” he added.

“If we’re really going to simplify, and cap development costs, there’s a possibility we could be involved but if I were to get involved, I’d do it with partners."

There is also the matter of ensuring whatever unit they develop would be competitive.

“If we can, we will, but we are not going to provide an engine to Red Bull that’s going to sit at the back of the grid,” Palmer concluded.