Legendary British car manufacturer Aston Martin is slowly but surely inching closer to Formula 1 as recent key staff moves at the company indicate.
The luxury brand, which will become Red Bull Racing's main sponsor next season, is very attentive to the sport's evolving engine plans for 2021.
CEO Andy Palmer, who said recently that he was 'warming up' his board to F1, likes what he sees so far from F1, although he insists a prerequisite to the company's involvement as a potential engine supplier in the future is less sophisticated technology and lower costs.
Palmer is getting a head start however by devoting resources to its F1 endeavour. Aston Martin's head of powertrain, former Ferrari man Joerg Ross, has been assigned to the project, as well as Luca Marmorini, who oversaw engine development at the Scuderia during the 1990s.
The latter engineer had acted as a consultant to Aston Martin until recently, but has since been offered a permanent role with the company.
"I've engaged Luca full-time now to help us with developing the concept engine," Palmer told Motorsport.com.
"I've got Joerg Ross, he's already working for me on our internal engine development and is ex Ferrari Formula 1. He will work on the F1 project.
"So I've got two good people now to start thinking about our concept.
"Luca started his concept thoughts just last week so it's fairly early days," he said.
"But he's a good guy to have onboard and lucid about who he thinks we should work with, who we could work with, from his experience what didn't work so that will save us time."
The 2021 engine proposal tabled last month by Ross Brawn to F1's teams got a cold reception from the manufacturers, with Mercedes critical of the costs associated with bringing to life a new engine and Ferrari threatening to quit F1 altogether if the future power unit platform resorted to standardized parts.
"I'm surprised they have been as vociferous as they have been because I think it was pretty well signalled within those meetings," said Palmer.
"I don't know whether they fane surprise. I don't think it was a huge surprise. In those meetings, you had the incumbents and you had the challengers. The challengers are aligned and the incumbents are aligned.
"But everyone around the room accepted that the sport is broken. And we need to bring back the entertainment. The entertainment is about drivers racing, its not about the heat recovery on an engine."