Aston Martin's F1 return with Force India put on hold

Aston Martin's return to Formula 1 via a tie-up with Force India has been placed on hold

Aston Martin's F1 return with Force India put on hold

Autosport revealed at the end of October the Aston Martin name was poised to return to F1 this season after a 55-year absence.

In early December Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer stated a conclusion to the deal was "close", suggesting the team would be in a position to confirm details by the middle of the month.

Unfortunately Force India's hopes of being rebranded as Aston Martin Racing in 2016 have fallen through, with discussions now on the backburner.

Szafanuer insists a deal "is not dead", and there remain hopes for 2017, telling Autosport: "It probably won't happen for 2016, but we're still talking.

"It's flattering for a company like Aston to be talking to Force India, to want to partner with us and come into Formula 1, but the story isn't final there yet."

As to the reasoning behind Aston's decision, Szafnauer added: "They have a lot of initiatives and they're changing their line-up of cars.

"They're a great company with very exciting times ahead of them, and you never know when they'll choose Formula 1 as a marketing tool.

"So for 2016 I don't think that will happen, but for the future there are still possibilities.

"The use of Formula 1 for them was going to be many fold, and perhaps the timing of a future year is better for those objectives."

Asked if there was disappointment such a brand would not be in F1 this year, Szafnauer said: "Our expectations were such that we discussed it and had a good business case to go forward.

"We did it with the objective of it happening in the short term. If it now happens in the long term, is there disappointment? Probably not.

"Is short term better? That's what we are still working towards as there is still an opportunity somewhere down the line, maybe even from '17.

"We're still in communication with them all the time, and definitely it's not dead."

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