Aston Martin is becoming increasingly serious about a future as a Formula One engine manufacturer after 2020.
The British brand has not raced in Formula One with its own cars since 1960 but has struck a deal to become Red Bull's title sponsor next year. Aston Martin's ties with the former F1 champions have also been strengthened by a joint hypercar project -- due to reach fruition in 2019 -- and it is now considering further involvement in the sport as an engine manufacturer.
A change of engine regulations in 2021 is aimed at making the sport more accessible for new manufacturers and, based on the most recent proposal, Aston Martin is keen to get involved.
"For us it's potentially a new engine in 2021, dependent upon what those regulations eventually come out like," Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer told Sky Sports. "There would be no point at all [developing an engine under the current regulations].
"The amount of development that goes into the current breed of engine is enormous, the cost of doing that is enormous particularly with the heat recovery system in the turbocharger and you throw it away in 2021."
Aston Martin has attended a series of meetings this year with the FIA, Formula One and existing and potential manufacturers to determine the 2021 regulations. Although the proposals have not been met with enthusiasm by Ferrari, Renault and Mercedes, Palmer believes the initial concept -- which includes getting rid of the expensive and complicated MGU-H -- is the right solution for the sport.
"I participate, as does the company, in a number of the working group meetings, obviously led by the FIA," Palmer added. "We put together a recommendation as an independent manufacturer of what would it need to look like to attract us in.
"Roughly speaking that is making it standardised as much as possible the bits that don't matter too much where you don't have the competitive engine, probably throw away the heat recovery turbochargers because that's an enormous amount of development.
"What we see coming back is something quite encouraging because it ticks many of those boxes, at least conceptually."
While Aston Martin manufactures engines for GT racing cars, it has no previous experience making Formula One power units. Earlier this year it employed former Ferrari and Toyota engineer Luca Marmorini to being work on an F1 concept and Palmer says his company is looking to partner with an independent manufacturer like Cosworth if it pushes ahead with a full F1 programme.
"It would be in collaboration with somebody," he said. "We have never done a Formula 1 engine before. There are obviously parties around like Cosworth, AVL, Ricardo or Ilmor. There are suppliers that are involved in the sport that we deal with. It's about bringing those together.
"The first step for us was the recruitment of Luca Marmorini. He has a lot of history in engine development for Ferrari and Toyota and he's helping us put together this concept of what the engine could look like and also participating in the discussions with the FIA."