Looks like Aston Martin is indeed returning to the Formula One grid this year, albeit under rather different circumstances. The British sports car manufacturer has announced a so-called “innovation partnership” with the Red Bull Racing team, which will see this year’s RB12 racers carry Aston Martin branding on the nose and aft of the sidepods. But that’s only part of the story.
Bigger news is that the partnership will spawn a new hypercar, codenamed Project ‘AM-RB 001,’ which will be designed through a collaboration between Aston’s chief designer Marek Reichman and Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer and legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey, the latter under the Red Bull Advanced Technologies banner.
The sole teaser images shows a low nose and pronounced wheel arches, joined by a slender body and topped by a race car-style cockpit. The proportions suggest a rear-mid-engined layout for the hypercar; if true, this would be the company’s first mid-engined road car, with the only other instance of an MR Aston being the one-off Bulldog concept car.
This won’t be the first time Aston Martin has toyed with the idea of an out-and-out, super-fast hypercar, nor Adrian Newey’s first time designing anything other than an F1 car. In 2014, the company revealed the DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo, a concept car built specifically for the Gran Turismo 6 racing game. A year later, a limited-run track special, the Vulcan, was introduced with over 800 hp from a 7.0 litre V12.
Newey, on the other hand, worked on a series of virtual experimental cars, the Red Bull X2010, X2011 and X2014, also for Gran Turismo 5 and 6 – the idea was to see what would happen if a race car was designed without being bound by the rulebooks of motorsport.
The result was an out-of-this-world creation with enclosed wheels and cockpit, plus a fan element that pulled air out from underneath the car, creating a significant amount of downforce. Put all this together and the upcoming hypercar does sound very promising indeed.
“Formula One offers the ultimate global stage to build wider awareness of the Aston Martin brand,” said Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer. “However, this partnership will deliver even more than that when the hypercar that Aston Martin and Adrian Newey are in the process of developing hits the road.
“Between Q by Aston Martin Advanced, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and partner AF Racing AG, we are going to create a car that will excite and stir the imaginations of the car designers of the future and a global audience of sports car enthusiasts. These are exciting times for Aston Martin and arriving hot on the heels of our DB11 launch earlier this month, this new partnership underlines that our brand really is racing again.”
Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner added, “Red Bull Advanced Technologies, led by Adrian, will be harnessing our Formula One DNA to produce the ultimate of all road cars. It’s an incredible project which also realises a dream and vision long held by Adrian to design a road car.”