Aston Martins are more commonly associated with James Bond, rather than the high-octane world of Formula 1. The famous British secret service agent has been driving the iconic cars on the big screen since the 1950s. And also, in that decade, Aston Martin entered Grand Prix racing, but withdrew after just a handful of races to concentrate on sports cars and the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance classic.
But as of 2021, Aston Martin is back in Formula 1 and their traditional British Racing Green livery will shine under the floodlights when their two race cars – piloted by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll – take to the streets of Jeddah for the first-ever Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this December.
The recent history of this legendary marque is connected with their young race driver, Lance Stroll. As a racing enthusiast and successful businessman, his father Lawrence Stroll, recently acquired control of the Aston Martin F1 outfit which took over from the Racing Point team that Stroll Jr had been competing for.
In the summer of 2018, Lawrence Stroll purchased the now-defunct Force India F1 Team. Under the new banner of ‘Racing Point’, this little squad, based opposite the gates of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, were renowned for punching above their weight, achieving plucky results, but never having the resources or infrastructure to compete for regular wins.
With Stroll’s involvement, the aims for this team – now carrying the famous Aston Martin wings logo and traditional green colour scheme – are high. A recruitment drive has taken place in addition to the financing of a brand-new headquarters which will be built in the coming years.
As a sign of the team’s ambitions, for 2021 they hired from Ferrari the four-time FIA Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, to spearhead their on-track challenge and to become a mentor for his team-mate, Stroll Jr.
The magic appears to be working as Vettel came close to an outright victory and scored a well-deserved second place in this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, until he was disqualified due to a minor technical infringement. This is just the start of the journey and the team are aiming to challenge the big teams for outright championship honours in the future…