Aston Martin Returns To Formula 1 After Six Decades With Mercedes-Benz Engines

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Aston Martin has excellent racing heritage, and even though it is known in the motorsports arena more like a GT racer, it has ran in the Formula 1 World Championship in the past.
The British carmaker had to decide in 1957 if it would continue its program in the sports car championship or storm the F1 doors and try to get noticed. It didn't have enough money to win both series. Its main goal was to beat Ferrari, which shouldn't have been a tough problem. Aston Martin already had a great 3.0-liter inline-six engine to compete with, and it had a great experience with chassis-building. But the management postponed the F1 entry for 1958 and stored the already built F1 racer in a shed.

The 1958 championship was won by Mike Hawthorn for the Scuderia Ferrari, while the Italian team came first in the final constructors' standings on a tie with Vanwall. The 1958 championship was significant since it was the first year when a Formula 1 title was awarded to the winning team as well. That same year, Cooper-Climax showed improvements for its mid-mounted engine race car, taking the third position in the standings.

Aston Martin dusted off the car built for the 1958 season and launched it into battle for the 1959 championship, even though it was obvious that its car was already outdated. Disaster followed! The team started in four events with its two drivers, Roy Salvadori and Caroll Shelby (yes, THAT Caroll Shelby). In the first race, both of them retired with engine problems. Their best race was in the Portuguese Grand Prix, when both cars finished the race in the 12th and 13th positions, behind three out of four Ferraris. The fourth one didn't finish due to an accident.

In 1960, Aston Martin tried again, but this time with an improved car, which proved to be a bigger disaster. The team couldn't afford to keep Shelby on its payroll, and tried to go with only Roy Salvadori in the Netherlands Grand Prix, where he didn't start. Aston Martin's last race in Formula 1 was in the 1960th British Grand Prix with two drivers, but they left home empty-handed without any points and with broken steering for Slavadori's car.

Fast forward to January 2021, and Aston Martin announced that it would race in the 2021 Formula One Championship with a new team. After a successful endurance racing career, the British luxury carmaker made its final step onto the most competitive motorsports arena. The Aston Martin Formula One Team will make its race debut in Melbourne, Australia, on March 21, 2021, with two drivers: four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll. The latter is a Grand Prix podium finisher who failed to win an F1 race so far. Lance's father is Lawrence Stroll, the Racing Point F1 Team owner, which was renamed as Aston Martin Formula 1 Team. Mercedes-Benz will provide the engines for the team's both cars. In 2020, the German carmaker supplied the engines for the Racing Point F1 Team as well.

Lawrence Stroll is a Canadian billionaire who led a consortium of investors to buy the Force India Formula One team in 2018. The newly formed racing team was renamed Racing Point Force India for the 2019 Championship. In 2020, it changed its name again into Racing Point F1 Team with Lance Stroll driving one of the cars. The team finished the championship in seventh place, with Lance on the 11th place in the driver's standing charts after snatching a pole-position in the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and finishing twice on the final podium.

The 2021 Formula One Championship will start on March 21 in Melbourne and will have 23 events until December 5, with the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel will join Aston Martin coming from Scuderia Ferrari, after finishing the 2020 Season in the 13th position.
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About the author: Tudor Serban
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Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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