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New dawn or badge engineering?

Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo return to F1

Both Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo have announced they are returning to F1. Aston Martin with Red Bull and Alfa Romeo with Sauber.

On the face of it, these announcements see Formula 1 returning to the halcyon days of Nuvolari, Ascari and Salvadori. But Ross Brawn’s recent attempt at cost cutting and standardization may mean that the illustrious teams are just providing nice badges on a standard FIA engine.

Aston Martin’s new road car DB11 is powered by an AMG – Mercedes V8, Red Bull has terminated its contract with engine supplier Renault.  If for the 2019 season Red Bull used Aston Martin for its new F1 engine will it actually be a re-badged Mercedes?

Alfa Romeo are owned  by FIA Chrysler Automobiles, who also own a significant stake in Ferrari NV who in turn currently supply FI engines to Sauber. Alfa Romeo also sponsor Scuderia Ferrari. So will the Sauber Alfa Romeo actually be a re-badged Ferrari?

The appeal of classic car racing is partly down to the fact that the cars look different and sound different. Both Alfa Romeo and Aston have previously produced some of the best, iconic sounding race engines with Straight Eights, V8’s and V12’s. Let’s hope their new F1 cars will be a new dawn and echo this heritage.

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