Red Bull hints at Aston Martin-linked Le Mans program

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Aston Martin AM-RB 001

Aston Martin AM-RB 001

Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, has dropped hints the energy drinks company is considering a future in endurance racing, namely the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the highlight of the World Endurance Championship.

In an interview with Autosport published Wednesday, Marko indicated that participating in endurance racing could mean leaving Formula 1, or racing in both competitions.

It would depend on the outcome of current negotiations for F1’s 2021 season and beyond. The current rules last until the end of the 2020 season, which is also the end date for Red Bull’s current F1 commitment.

“We have an agreement [with F1] until 2020,” he said. “As long as there is no engine regulation and no Concorde Agreement, neither Red Bull nor Honda will make a decision.”

Honda is the new power unit supplier to Red Bull for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, taking over from Renault.

Marko hinted that Red Bull will only be willing to stay if the new rules are favorable to the team.

“We will certainly not become dependent again, as we have been in the past, when we were begging others and statements and promises were not kept,” he said.

Marko pointed to WEC’s new Hypercar class starting in the 2020/2021 season as being an alternative, as Red Bull is helping to develop road-going hypercars with Aston Martin, the first of which is the upcoming Valkyrie. Aston Martin has also hinted at entering the Hypercar class with race cars based on its upcoming road-going hypercar models.

“With the Valkyrie, Le Mans could be an option with Hypercar rules,” he said.

Perhaps of most interest is Marko’s comment that Red Bull could race in F1 and WEC, though only if there was a cost cap in F1.

“If there was a cost cap in Formula 1, we would have to cut people,” he said. “We don’t necessarily want that; we could then use them in such projects [as Le Mans].”

Marko also said any WEC program would depend on Aston Martin footing most of the bill.

“The main financial burden would be on Aston Martin, which is also clear, because at Le Mans the manufacturer wins,” he explained. “But that would fit into our concept.”

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