Aston Martin Unconcerned about Brand Confusion amid Red Bull’s Honda Switch


Max Verstappen - Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says he has no issues about Red Bull Racing making the switch to Honda power in 2019 and 2020 amid concerns about there would be brand confusion between the two car manufacturers.

Red Bull announced earlier this week that they will end their twelve-year partnership with Renault Sport with a move to Honda, but Palmer says it has no effect on Aston Martin’s alliance with the Milton Keynes-based outfit, even though there is likely to be two different car manufacturers in the team name in 2019.

“Very clearly, the team name is Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and then of course the FIA adds the [engine] manufacturer name,” said Palmer to Motorsport.com.

“But let’s be brutally honest. While it was called TAG, everybody knew it was a Renault. And in that sense, the difference between whether it is a Renault or a Honda?

“Aston Martin has zero cross shopping with both brands. So we are completely indifferent to the name.”

Palmer revealed that Red Bull did consult with Aston Martin about the decision to switch to Honda power from next season, and he welcomes the move if it gives the team a better chance of winning races down the line.   He would have been less supportive of a change of engine supplier had they gone with Ferrari but admitted that they do not have the power of veto as part of their contract.

“Look, if it was a Ferrari engine I would have a problem! And that would be a red line,” said Palmer.  “But our customers don’t cross shop us with either Renault or Honda, and basically can I say that Honda is more of a problem than Renault covered up with the name of the TAG? I honestly don’t think so.

“We’ve known about it for a while and we fundamentally agree with where Red Bull wanted to go. Let’s be clear: we don’t have a veto, we were simply part of the consultation process and that is part of the philosophy by which we go Formula 1 racing.

“We think it is generally better that experts in Formula 1 go racing than owning your own team.  The criteria for us is a very simple one: which is do everything you can to win. And clearly the team felt that by going over from Renault to Honda, it is going to give them a better chance of winning. In that sense, I commend the decision.”