As­ton Martin Strolls back


The Citizen (KZN) - - Motorsport - John Floyd

Wants to ‘ful­fil Lagonda’s po­ten­tial’ af­ter a 60-year ab­sence from F1.

Ru­mours that Rac­ing Point’s con­sor­tium chief Lawrence Stroll was con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing in As­ton Martin Lagonda has now be­come fact af­ter the Cana­dian bil­lion­aire’s in­vest­ment of R3.589 bil­lion for a 17% share of the iconic Bri­tish car man­u­fac­turer.

It is a move that has an in­ter­est­ing im­pact on more than just Stroll’s For­mula One team,

As­ton Martin Lagonda have suf­fered a fi­nan­cial down­turn since 2018, in­clud­ing a drop in its share price.

They are now on a R9.813 bil­lion fundrais­ing drive, with an ad­di­tional share is­sue from the com­pany’s ma­jor stake­hold­ers to gen­er­ate the bal­ance fol­low­ing Stroll’s in­vest­ment.

The Cana­dian brings a wealth of ex­per­tise in the lux­ury brand mar­ket place.

He was re­ported as say­ing: “I and my part­ners firmly be­lieve that As­ton Martin is one of the great global lux­ury car brands.

“I be­lieve this com­bi­na­tion of cap­i­tal and my ex­pe­ri­ence of both the mo­tor in­dus­try and build­ing highly suc­cess­ful global brands will mean that, over time, we ful­fil As­ton Martin Lagonda’s po­ten­tial.”

As­ton Martin chief ex­ec­u­tive Andy Palmer com­mented: “We have also an­nounced plans to lever­age a new mo­tor­sports col­lab­o­ra­tion with Rac­ing Point to en­hance the ex­e­cu­tion of the plan.”

This is where Red Bull Rac­ing comes in. Af­ter all, there has been a four-year re­la­tion­ship be­tween Red Bull and As­ton Martin.

The Mil­ton Keynes team con­firmed the part­ner­ship will stand un­til the end of the 2020 sea­son but will not be ex­tended.

One area that will con­tinue is the in­volve­ment with Red Bull Ad­vanced Tech­nolo­gies, so the fu­ture of the hy­per­car – the jointly de­signed and built Valkyrie – will still meet its end-of-2020 de­liv­ery date.

So what next for the Gay­don-based com­pany and Rac­ing Point, as one would ex­pect it will mean a new fu­ture for both?

The last time As­ton Martin graced a F1 grid was in 1960, and the 1959 and 1960 sea­sons pro­duced re­sults the com­pany would prob­a­bly rather for­get.

At the end of the 2020 sea­son, it is re­ported the As­ton Martin name will re­place the non­de­script Rac­ing Point in the F1 en­try lists and this could re­sult in an ex­cit­ing era for both com­pa­nies.

As­ton Martin have used Mercedes AMG en­gines in past pro­duc­tion mod­els and Rac­ing Point is cur­rently a con­tracted Mercedes F1 power unit client.

It is a case of watch this space for 2021 and be­yond for the new As­ton Martin F1 team.

A name change is noth­ing new for Rac­ing Point.

The team started in 1991 as Jor­dan F1 but 14 years later fi­nan­cial is­sues forced the sale to the Mid­lands Group and in 2006 it be­came Mid­land MF1 Rac­ing.

Dutch com­pany Spyker pur­chased the com­pany to­wards the end of that same year and raced un­til the end of 2007 when In­dian en­tre­pre­neur Vi­jay Mallya led a con­sor­tium that bought the team, and so Force In­dia was cre­ated.

Fol­low­ing Force In­dia’s fi­nan­cial demise, Stroll and his con­sor­tium pur­chased the team which two years ago be­came Rac­ing Point.

With the grow­ing threat of coro­n­avirus and the re­cent state­ment from the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion declar­ing it an in­ter­na­tional emer­gency, it comes as no sur­prise that the FIA has can­celled the For­mula E race on 21 March at the Sanya fa­cil­ity in Hainan Prov­ince.

Al­though Sanya is some 2 000km from Shang­hai, the Chi­nese Grand Pix – just over two weeks later – is also un­der threat, as is the in­au­gu­ral Viet­namese race.

With the first death be­yond China’s borders and the highly con­ta­gious na­ture of the virus, the FIA are en­sur­ing that all in­volved in the sport and, of course, the spec­ta­tors will not be placed in a risky sit­u­a­tion.

On a hap­pier note, the an­nual re­veal of the 10 teams’ lat­est cre­ations will soon be­gin:

11 Fe­bru­ary – Fer­rari: Reg­gio Emilia, Italy

12 Fe­bru­ary – Re­nault: Paris, France

12 Fe­bru­ary – Red Bull: United King­dom

13 Fe­bru­ary – McLaren: Wok­ing Fac­tory, UK

14 Fe­bru­ary – Mercedes: Sil­ver­stone, UK

14 Fe­bru­ary – Al­pha Tauri: Red Bull Hanger 7, Salzburg, Aus­tria

17 Fe­bru­ary – Rac­ing Point: Mond­see, Aus­tria

17 Fe­bru­ary – Wil­liams: Grove, UK

19 Fe­bru­ary – Alfa Romeo: Barcelona Pit Lane, Spain

19 Fe­bru­ary – Haas: Barcelona Pit Lane, Spain

On 19 Fe­bru­ary, the first day of pre-sea­son test­ing takes place and, for a change, there will be no hid­ing the new cars.

Cov­ers and screens that are rapidly de­ployed when the car is sta­tion­ary in the pits and garage have been deemed il­le­gal un­der the new sport­ing reg­u­la­tions, so there is no place to hide.

At the end of the 2020 sea­son the As­ton Martin name will re­place Rac­ing Point in the For­mula One en­try lists.

Pic­ture: AFP

RUN­NING OUT. As­ton Martin’s part­ner­ship with Red Bull Rac­ing will be dis­solved at the end of this year.

Pic­ture: Getty Images

RUN­NING IN. From next year, Rac­ing Point will be en­tered un­der the As­ton Martin um­brella, prob­a­bly with Mercedes-Benz en­gines.

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