Aramco eyeing Aston Martin, Newey and Verstappen - rumour

"Max knows exactly what happened internally"


20 March 2024 - 10:48
Aramco eyeing Aston Martin, Newey (...)

Rumours are emerging that Aston Martin’s main F1 sponsor, Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company Aramco, is shaping up to potentially take over the team.

The explosive development could even tie in with the ongoing Christian Horner affair at Red Bull, and explain in part why that outfit is now desperate to call an internal ’ceasefire’ over the power struggle.

However, the media is likely to keep chasing the Horner story this weekend in Melbourne.

The major German newspaper Bild claims one side of the Red Bull power struggle - Thai 51 percent owner Chalerm Yoovidhya - installed a "spy" at Red Bull’s Austrian headquarters in Salzburg.

Elsewhere, it emerges that the so-called ’Helmut Marko clause’ in Max Verstappen’s F1 contract, allowing him to escape the deal if Marko is ousted, was added after the initial signing, without Horner’s knowledge.

The scandal and the unrest has clearly alienated Max’s influential father Jos, but Adrian Newey - arguably the most respected technical brain in F1’s entire history - is also said to be unhappy with the situation.

It was said that Newey, Max Verstappen and even Dr Helmut Marko could simply jump ship to Mercedes for 2025, with Verstappen neatly replacing the Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton.

But Aston Martin may also be making a bold bid to benefit from Red Bull’s troubles.

Eurosport Italy reports that Lawrence Stroll, the current Aston Martin owner whose son Lance is struggling in the green cockpit, may be interested in selling the Silverstone based outfit to title sponsor Aramco.

If Verstappen and Newey were also part of the deal, it would almost certainly be more than lucrative.

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher thinks simply firing Horner would be a much simpler solution to the current unrest than the current talk about a ’ceasefire’.

"Max knows exactly what happened internally," he told Auto Bild when asked about the murky Horner affair. "He also knows that there is a great risk that Adrian Newey will soon have no desire to stay at Red Bull because of all the turmoil.

"Red Bull can do without him (Newey) least of all. But they could do without Horner."

Who would replace Horner is less clear, but Gunther Steiner is available as he was recently ousted as team boss by Haas owner Gene Haas.

"I don’t know if I want to be back as a team principal," Steiner told the Australian public broadcaster ABC at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival.

"Maybe setting up a new team, for the new era of Formula 1, could be an opportunity."

Steiner does, however, expect that we haven’t heard the last about the Horner saga.

"In the higher ranks of the company, there will be some people rethinking what they want to do," he predicts. "I hope that for the sake of Formula 1, they put an end to it and we move on."

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