Sebastian Vettel is about to switch to Aston Martin. But aside from the prominent name, many F1 fans have little to do with the English sports car manufacturer. Aston Martin was in the top class of motorsport 60 years ago – and failed. The brand was made world famous by a secret agent.
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Whether an ejection seat as standard, built-in machine guns or rotating number plates – in addition to the elegant British body design, these tricks have made Aston Martin famous worldwide. As the standard vehicle for top agent James Bond.
Speculation about a move to Aston Martin
Sebastian Vettel will have to do without such bonuses – if he moves to Aston Martin’s new Formula 1 team in 2021. The four-time world champion from Heppenheim, whose contract with Ferrari expires at the end of the season, is currently holding back speculation about his future.
A report by the newspaper “Bild” suggests, among other things, that a collaboration between Vettel and Aston Martin is quite possible. And much more: Vettel is said to be talking to billionaire team boss Lawrence Stroll. Ex-Ferrari star Gerhard Berger already assumes an agreement. On ServusTV, the Austrian revealed, “As discussed backhand in the paddock, the topic is likely already underway.”
British secret agent James Bond was on the road several times in the well-known film series in an Aston Martin. This gave the brand a cult status, among other things. The legendary DB5 of “Goldfinger” with Sean Connery was auctioned in 2019 for approximately six million euros. (Source: The Legacy Collection / image images)
One thing is certain: Vettel wants to continue to achieve something in the highest class of motorsport, not just “participate or grab a little money”, as he says. And for a four-time world champion like him, a traditional name like Aston Martin doesn’t just seem like an ideal partner in terms of glamor factor. In Formula 1, however, the name Aston Martin seems much less sonorous than outside.
The smart steps of Aston Martin in Formula 1
After three years of development, the brand entered Formula 1 in 1959 as David Brown Corporation (named after the legendary company boss that made Aston Martin famous worldwide after World War II). However, the two pilots Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby reached no more than two sixth places. Despite improvements such as a new suspension, things did not go better a season later. On the contrary: the eleventh place of Maurice Trintignant was the greatest feeling. Therefore, Aston Martin retired from the motorsport class before the end of the season.
Aston Martin’s first F1 engagement, 1959 to 1960 (here Roy Salvadori at the 1960 Grand Prix at Silverstone), was not crowned with continued success. (Source: Autocar / image images)
Aston Martin’s commitment to the Sports Car World Championship was far more successful than in Formula 1, where the team achieved numerous victories with drivers such as the legendary Stirling Moss in the 1950s, for example in the 24-hour race at Le Mans.
Involvement with Red Bull
It would take more than five decades for the brand to make a comeback in Formula 1. The Force India team, based in the UK, already tried to work together in 2015. However, eventually Aston Martin decided against it and started sponsoring Red Bull in 2016. The team has officially been called ‘Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’ since 2018 and Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo achieved seven wins. The engines are currently from Honda.
Aston Martin has been a Red Bull sponsor since 2016. Since 2018, the brand is also part of the official team name. (Source: Darko Bandic / AP / Image Images)
Despite sponsor successes, Aston Martin’s trophy collection in Formula 1 is manageable. With the return to the 2021 season, which was officially confirmed in April, that should now change. Team Racing Point, founded by billionaire Stroll, becomes the factory team of Aston Martin. Stroll also acquired the main brand and bought 16.7 percent of the shares there through a consortium at the beginning of this year. Costs: 216 million euros.
“The foundation of our strategy for the sports car business will be the return of Aston Martin as a Formula 1 factory team. This will allow the brand to reach a total audience of two billion people per year,” Stroll explains. Sebastian Vettel could now also take advantage of this and Aston Martin would gain the same fame in Formula 1 in the future as he did in the “James Bond” movies – and without an ejection seat and built-in machine gun.