Aston Martin F1 deal 'improbable', says CEO

Mon Jul 6, 2015 10:35am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Aston Martin have had plenty of approaches from Formula One teams wanting to bring the brand back to the sport but the chances of a deal are improbable at best, chief executive Andy Palmer told Reuters on Monday.

The former Nissan executive, who joined the classic British sportscar marque last year, recognized the rumor mill was running wild at Sunday's British Grand Prix but said there were substantial obstacles to any involvement.

"The bottom line is that it would be very difficult for us. We as a company don't have the kind of money to go into Formula One and make a decent job of it," he said in a telephone interview.

"Unless I thought we could be challenging Ferrari in some way, shape or form I just wouldn't contemplate doing it.

"The best I can tell you is that it's improbable. I never say never but it's improbable," added Palmer, who was a key figure in the deal that brought the Nissan-owned Infiniti brand to Red Bull as title partner.

Hit by aging models and weak investment, loss-making Aston Martin delivered 4,000 cars last year, well short of its 7,300 record in 2007. The company's main shareholders are private-equity groups, Investment Dar of Kuwait and Italy's Investindustrial.

The rumor mill was fired up by a report on Saturday that Aston Martin, who last competed in Formula One in 1960, were in talks with Red Bull about becoming a brand partner with Mercedes replacing Renault as engine supplier.

Mercedes have a five percent stake in Aston Martin, the car of choice for fictional British secret agent James Bond.   Continued...