Niki Lauda has denied suggestions that Aston Martin could help Red Bull Racing secure a Mercedes engine supply for 2016.
Historically Red Bull and Mercedes do not work together, and hitherto any kind of relationship looked impossible. However, Autocar has suggested that Aston Martin – which is 5% owned by Mercedes – could broker a deal, and that the RBR cars would carry Aston branding.
Aston CEO Andy Palmer and director of marketing and communications Simon Sproule were previously involved in Infiniti’s sponsorship of RBR, and Palmer also contributed to road car co-operation deal between Renault/Nissan and Mercedes. There is also an engine and software supply relationship between Aston and Mercedes, while there are close links between David Richards and Christian Horner.
“There’s not even a discussion,” Lauda told this writer. “No discussion at all. I haven’t heard anything from them and we never talked about it. I have breakfast every morning with Helmut [Marko] so I should know.
“We never thought about it because we have four teams running our engines, so we don’t even have capacity.”
Asked if a fourth supply might be freed up if Lotus switches back to Renault next year he said: “Who knows? I’ve no idea. We have contracts with all of them. We cannot do more than what we have, and that’s it.”
Meanwhile Lauda acknowledged that there was personal animosity between Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz and Mercedes that made any co-operation unlikely.
“It starts with Mateschitz, Mateschitz had, for whatever reason in the past, I don’t know what. I don’t know the reasons, to be honest.”