Title sponsor eyes Aston Martin and F1’s top talents

Whispers are swirling around the Formula 1 paddock that Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil giant and primary sponsor of Aston Martin, might soon escalate its involvement by taking over the team. This potential acquisition is stirring the pot in an already tumultuous season, possibly connected to the internal strife at Red Bull Racing linked to Christian Horner’s management.

With the F1 circus heading to Melbourne, the saga surrounding Horner is expected to continue dominating headlines. According to Germany’s prominent newspaper, Bild, the internal discord at Red Bull has reached new heights, with Chalerm Yoovidhya, the team’s Thai majority owner, reportedly placing a “spy” within the energy drink company’s Austrian base.

Further complicating matters is the revelation of a clause related to Helmut Marko in Max Verstappen’s contract, a detail added post-signature without Horner’s knowledge, suggesting the driver could leave if Marko were ever dismissed or disempowered.

The ongoing unrest within the team has not only distanced Max’s father, Jos Verstappen, but also Adrian Newey, F1’s most lauded technical mind, raising speculation about their future with the team. Rumors had previously suggested that both Newey and Verstappen might switch to Mercedes in 2025, potentially filling the void left by Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari.

Amidst this backdrop, Aston Martin emerges as a potential sanctuary for Red Bull’s disenchanted. Eurosport Italy has reported that Lawrence Stroll, facing his own challenges with son Lance’s questionable performance, is considering selling the Silverstone-based team to Aramco. Such a deal, especially if it included Verstappen and Newey, would undoubtedly be a blockbuster in the F1 world.

Ralf Schumacher, a former F1 driver, suggests that Red Bull’s simplest solution to quell the unrest might be to dismiss Horner, a move that would arguably be less convoluted than the current attempts at internal peace.

“Max knows exactly what happened internally,” Schumacher told Auto Bild, highlighting the potential departure of Newey due to the ongoing turmoil, a loss Red Bull could ill afford. “Red Bull can do without him (Newey) least of all. But they could do without Horner.”

As speculation mounts over Horner’s replacement, Gunther Steiner, recently let go by Haas, emerges as a possible candidate. Speaking to ABC at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival, Steiner expressed uncertainty about returning as a team principal, hinting at the possibility of starting a new team for F1’s next era.

Steiner anticipates further developments in the Horner narrative, suggesting that it may lead to significant changes within Red Bull’s upper echelons. “In the higher ranks of the company, there will be some people rethinking what they want to do,” he remarked, hoping for a resolution that moves Formula 1 forward.


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