Aston Martin F1?

Aston Martin Chairman David Richards has revealed that his Prodrive company is looking to enter Formula One, with a view to taking up one of three available spots open to new teams next year.

This is cool news for many reasons, the first of which is that we could have as many as 26 cars on the grid in 2010 – it’s always good to have loads of cars in a race!

And second, there’s a chance that the Prodrive outfit will enter as Aston Martin, which would be, well, bloody British.

We’re already keenly following Aston’s top-flight entry into Le Mans this year, so having them in F1 would be very exciting.

Richards has tempered our excitement a little, though, explaining that the Prodrive team might not get badged as Aston. “There are many discussions to be had in the coming weeks once the regulations have been published. We will then make a decision,” he told Autosport.

There are some in the Top Gear office who think that Aston doesn’t make sense as a brand in F1, because it makes GT cars. However, I think it would be a pretty awesome to see Aston go up against the likes of Ferrari.

Richards is assessing the situation in light of the FIA’s planned budget cap, that would see a voluntary £30 million limit placed on teams.

These teams would then be given huge freedom in technical innovation by the sport’s governing body. Think movable wings, no engine rev limit, no restriction on the number or type of updates, no homologation requirements, no limits on materials, testing, simulators, wind tunnels and so on. This freedom won’t be offered to the bigger spending teams.

The budget won’t cover driver salaries, motor homes, marketing and the like, but will cover all development work – and even ‘freebies’ from other teams will be assigned a real world cost and covered by the cap (say if McLaren let Aston use their wind tunnel for free).

This idea could take F1 back to the days where small privateer teams were actively vying for wins with the big boys, and the rumoured eight teams considering entering F1 will no doubt have been buoyed by Brawn’s recent success (although even they are operating way beyond a £30 million cap).

FIA president Max Mosley has requested that current teams submit their own capping proposals by tomorrow (Thursday), before announcing the plans next week.

If nothing else, this could lead to some interesting times in F1 next season, so let us know what you think about it all: will it add to the excitement of F1, or create a two-tier championship?

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