The famous wings are back: the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 team is prepared and ready
Aston Martin made it back to the pinnacle of racing, Formula 1, and they did it in high style. Yes, I said returned, and the reasons are about as complicated as you’d expect. Oh, and they brought an old alarm clock just for good measure.
Aston Martin raced in F1 in the 1950s. The last time they ran (more or less competitive) was when they finally won Le Mans in 1959. Aston Martin was better at sports cars than open-wheel cars back then, but that’s not a reason Not to make another run. Hence the new Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 team.
The famous wings return
The how, why and why sounds like something out of the real (rich) Montreal housewives, but it’s all true. As you may know, Aston Martin was on shaky financial foundations not long ago. Despite making outstanding street cars and that terrifying cable Valkyrie designed by Newey ol’AM waited in the wings and looked Really shaky.
Lawrence Stroll, a Quebec businessman and the money man behind Tommy Hilfiger. He decided that buying Aston Martin was a very good bang for the buck (current net worth: 3.2 billion). Good for him! The gears of the world thank you! But why back into F1?
Rewind a few years. At this point, Lawrence bought the Force India team from Indian “billionaire” Vijay Mallya (last I heard he was arrested and wanted because of financial grievances). Force India was formerly Spyker F1 and before that Midland F1 Racing and earlier The, ta-dah !, Jordan Grand Prix! That’s right, Eddie Jordan’s old outfit. The guys who gave a young Michael Schumacher his first ride in the big leagues. So why not, Lawrence Stroll must have thought, bring Aston Martin back to the top? Good chance my friend!
Aston Martin Cognizant Drivers
So who is allowed to drive the (kind of) brand new Aston Martin Formula 1 car? That would be Lance Stroll and [checks notes] A guy named Sebastian Vettel. Yes, The Sebastian Vettel. The youngest F1 world champion of all time (at the time), the youngest of all time (at the time) double F1 world champion, the youngest of all time (at the time) triple F1 world champion, the youngest of all time (at the time) quadruple F1 world champion (and one of only three people who have ever driven four times in a row).
Saying Vettel is a tough hitter is like saying Mike Tyson knows how to throw a punch. Sebastian made a long (seemingly endless) stint at Ferrari and just couldn’t really understand the chemistry. He was on the verge of (oh so close) winning championships for the famous Maranello team but never got the deal sealed. Ergo, the boy from Germany (dear God, he is still only 33!) has something to prove.
And yes, Lance Stroll. Lance would be Lawrence’s son, and I know what you’re thinking. And yes, you would be partly right. Let’s be honest; Lance got into F1 because he brought a large suitcase full of $$$. Maybe two. And yes, you could say that Dad bought him a whole team, but … but … but. Look, Lance was quick at times (with an uppercase “F”). A few years ago he almost won in Baku, Azerbaijan, and he has shown brilliant and raw talent that one has to be intentionally blind to to ignore.
If – and this is a big if – he can get his head right, hold it down and focushe could be a serious threat. Could he hit Vettel? I am not saying that. See, there are only two or three people out there who can handle Sebastian, and Lance isn’t one of them. May be. Then again, maybe he could. That’s why you have to let the race run: to knows Who is the fastest and not just guessing.
Stylish and noble
Oh, and about that style thing. Would you just take a look at the paint job on the new Aston Martin F1? Officially called AMR21, it is painted in the traditional factory racing colors of a glossy, slightly darker green than medium green. It’s called Aston Martin Racing Green and it has the same colors that they painted their racers in the 50s. lighter than the green on Jags, darker than the UDT Laystalls. Very quite.
Combine this AM Racing Green with the traditional red Ferraris, the blue Alpines (the new Renaults) and the Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz and you get a very colorful grid in 2021. We’ll see if the AMR21, Lance and Sebastian can live up to the hype, pressure and expectations when the cars line up for the first race of the year in Bahrain on March 28th.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life driving antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in Perback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @ TonyBorroz.