Car manufacturers often push the link between their road-going products and their race cars, but it is rare that a direct link can be made. However, the design of the Aston Martin Valkyrie was penned by F1 engineer Adrian Newey and Red Bull has worked closely with the British manufacturer on the car’s aerodynamics. The link between Project One and the Mercedes’ W08 F1 car is arguably even stronger, with both cars being powered by a version of the German manufacturer’s turbo hybrid F1 engine.
Although the two hypercars are very different in specification and design — the Aston Martin is powered by a Cosworth-developed 6.5-litre V12 — they are both halo cars for their respective brands and both companies are pushing their F1 credentials. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said comparisons between the two will be inevitable when they are launched, but remains confident that Red Bull’s approach trumps Mercedes’.
“When we made the decision to do Valkyrie we didn’t know that Mercedes was working on the Project One,” he told the official F1 website. “There had been rumours, but we didn’t take any consideration of them. That they are bringing Project One — which is a fantastic car, but from a technical perspective in a different place — leads journalists to compare the two. And that is interesting.
“It will make for an interesting head-to-head road test. Ours looks like something out of this world. Ours is Formula One from the point of view of chassis and aerodynamics — with a huge engine in the back.
“They have chosen to go down the road of a relatively conservative body with a Formula One powertrain, which is interesting — and it will be interesting to have the two side by side. I like our concept!”
On Monday Red Bull announced Aston Martin will become a title sponsor in 2018, tightening the relationship between the F1 team and the automaker. Aston Martin is considering taking the deal a step further in 2021 and becoming an F1 engine manufacturer, but Palmer says much will depend on the development costs of the next F1 power unit.
“We do like Formula One — it is good for our brand,” Palmer added. “As Valkyrie develops our cooperation with Red Bull is evolving, so how can we leverage not just the supercar, but also the involvement of Formula One technology in that car? Naturally there is a propensity for trying to do more with them — how much is subject to negotiations.
“On the other hand, for 2021 there is a potentially a rule change in engines. We are an engine maker and if the rules change sufficiently that it makes sense — that the costs come down so that a company like us can afford to do an engine — we’d like to do the engine. We would like to be the provider of an independent engine to F1 with our principal customer — that, of course, being our friends at Red Bull. And between these two things draw the line. Today we are a sponsor and innovations partner — maybe this will grow a bit, but to what extent depends on the direction that F1 takes.”