The $5M track-focused Pagani Imola isn’t supposed to be elegant

The Pagani Imola, a track-focused version of the Pagani Huayra, first broke cover in September, 2019, at an event, but official information was nowhere to be found. It took a few months, but today, Pagani released the first batch of real images and gave fans the specs they’ve been waiting for. 

With a pre-tax price tag of $5.4 million by today’s conversion rates, the Imola will be limited to only five examples, and Pagani says every car is already spoken for. The car is named for the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari racetrack in Imola, Italy, outside Bologna. There, the car logged roughly 3,728 miles during testing and validation, which the company says was the most severe tuning process ever conducted for a Pagani vehicle. 

Immediately noticeable are the car’s aerodynamics and fierce looks. A rear spine gives the Imola a new technical profile, several new deflectors and inlets interrupt any hope for smooth lines, and the rear could double as a geometric abstract drawing. Founder and Chief Designer of Pagani Automobili Horacio Pagani even admitted in the press release, “We can’t say that it’s an elegant car. We wanted an efficient vehicle.” 

Pagani bills the coupe as a technology test lab for its entire operation. Some of the innovations have already been applied to the Huayra Roadster BC, while others will be implemented in future vehicles. As with any high-performance vehicle, the focus was on weight savings, a balance between feel and control, and power. 

To increase rigidity and strength while keeping weight at bay, Pagani reformulated its Carbo-Titanium HP62 G2 and Carbo-Triax HP62 used in the monocoque. The Imola introduces Acquarello Light, a new painting process that saves 11 pounds, and the car was built with roughly 770 forged or CNC-machined components. All said, Pagani claims the Imola weighs 2,747 pounds, slightly heavier than the 2,685-pound Huayra BC coupe but significantly lighter than the 2,976-pound regular Huayra coupe. 

Under the hood, the Imola has a 5,980-cc Mercedes-AMG twin-turbo V12 that makes a claimed 827 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. It works with an Xtrac 7-speed transverse automatic transmission, a triple-disc clutch, and an electro-mechanical differential. That output, which represents increases from the BC Roadster’s 791 horsepower and 774 lb-ft of torque, is sent to the rear wheels.

Pagani redesigned the suspension for better power transfer and reduced brake dive, and the Imola has a new Smart Gas system. Basically, the engine, differential, transmission, and suspension talk to each other and work together to reduce shift times and sharpen driving feel. The system has interconnected electronically controlled dampers that change ride height depending on the driving characteristics. This is in addition to an active aerodynamic system that was introduced on the original Huayra.

Additionally, the Imola has a custom carbon-ceramic Brembo braking system with six-piston monoblock calipers up front and four-piston monoblock calipers in the rear. Twenty-inch wheels up front and 21-inch wheels in the rear are wrapped with bespoke Pirelli Trofeo R rubber.

For Pagani, the man, the Imola circuit was a no-brainer when it came to testing, as the track’s history is equally as important as its racing characteristics.

“Imola is a sacred place for car enthusiasts,” he says in the release. “It’s a fast, difficult, technical circuit that has always separated the wheat from the chaff, in terms of both men and machines. A circuit that has made the fastest drivers faster, one that has given rise to fierce duels between opponents and gentlemen, and where the sweetest victories and bitterest tragedies have been witnessed. A circuit in the Motor Valley of Emilia Romagna. A place that has given so much to the automotive industry. That has given so much to Pagani. The Imola circuit became a second home while the car was being developed. This is why project code PS-01 was dubbed Pagani Imola, as a tribute to the track where the vehicle was created and which is part of its identity.”


Nissan’s baby lullaby album combines gas and electric noises

In a time when Nissan has filed a civil suit against former chairman Carlos Ghosn, is suffering from a sales slump, and is losing millions of dollars, the company has dropped a surprise album. Unlike Elon Musk’s song, which has EDM vibes, Nissan’s aural soundtrack is of a more relaxed nature and is aimed at a much younger demographic. Nissan Leaf Dream Drive is a string of lullabies created with sounds from electric cars and internal combustion vehicles.

Parents know that a car ride is a great way to get kids to sleep. But that approach emits CO2, and therefore contributes to climate change. So, for parents who don’t have a fully electric car like the Leaf, Nissan created an album that emulates the experience of riding in a car.

Nissan calls the act of using a car to lull kids to sleep “dream driving,” thus the name of its album is Dream Drive. Nissan engineers worked with DJ, sound designer, and sleep coach Tom Middleton to create a new sound that mimics what is produced by a traditional gasoline-powered car. The album consists of five three-minute songs.

The album is available on pretty much every streaming platform, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Soundcloud, Google Play, and more. The music is also available for download. Let’s just hope the sleep-deprived driving parents don’t succumb to the crafted calm.


New 2020 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster blasts in ahead of Geneva

Aston Martin has extended the Vantage line-up with a convertible version. The new Vantage Roadster, which joins the regular coupé and the hardcore AMR in the range, arrives as a rival to the Porsche 911 Cabriolet and will make its full debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. 

The Roadster is 60kg heavier than the coupé due to its additional strengthening measures, but performance takes only a very minor hit; 0-62mph now takes 3.8 seconds – which is 0.2 seconds slower than the coupé – while Aston claims that the Roadster has a top speed of 190mph.

• Best convertible cars on sale

The folding roof mechanism features a Z-shaped structure, and it’s one of the fastest systems on the market. Aston says it takes just seven seconds to stow the fabric hood away in a compartment ahead of the boot, which shrinks in size to 200 litres. The firm claims it’s the fastest automatic convertible roof of any car on sale right now.


Under the bonnet, the Roadster uses the same Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as the coupé, which develops 503bhp and 685Nm of torque.

It sends power to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which features paddle-shifters for manual control.

The coupé’s electronic rear differential is carried over, as are adaptive damping and dynamic torque vectoring, while the Roadster gets a bespoke chassis set-up to compensate for the loss of the roof. 

Drive modes remain three fold, with Sport, Sport+ and Track settings ready at the fingertips, but Aston’s engineers have tuned them specifically for the Roadster.

The introduction of the Vantage Roadster coincides with the 70th anniversary of the car’s nameplate. To that end, it’s now possible to specify both versions of the Vantage with a ‘vane’-style grille featuring horizontal chrome slats, as seen on other Vantage models over the decades. A fresh range of alloy wheel designs has been added to the options list, while new paint finishes are available, too. 

Elsewhere, the seven-speed manual gearbox previously offered only in the limited-edition Vantage AMR is now available in the regular coupé, but is unavailable in the new Roadster for now. 

Deliveries of the Vantage Roadster begin in the summer, with the new car on sale now priced from £126,950, commanding a £12,100 premium over the hard-top Vantage.

Do you like the look of the new Aston Martin Vantage Roadster? Let us know your thoughts below…


Japan’s Nidec, electric motor producer, bets on electric cars

Japan’s Nidec Corp plans to more than treble its revenue over the next five years by focusing on electric vehicle powertrains and buying specialists in motor technologies, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The world’s leading maker of precision motors which supplies parts for Apple’s iPhones is expected to detail its plans as soon as Tuesday when it will name former Nissan Motor executive Jun Seki as president, the sources said.

The new strategy shows how the Kyoto-based company wants to play a bigger role in the auto industry as electric vehicle (EV) production takes off, after slowdowns in demand for motors in markets such as cellphones have weighed on its sales.

“The EV motor system is key to our growth strategy,” said one of the sources, a Nidec insider, referring to integrated EV powertrain systems commonly known as e-axles – technology that incorporates motors, power electronics and transmissions.

“The e-axle market is going to be big, but it is only one half of our twin-pillar growth strategy,” the person said. “The other big key to growth is in mergers and acquisitions of other motor-related technologies.”

The sources declined to be identified because the information is not yet public. Nidec declined to comment.

Nidec’s plan is to boost annual revenue to 5 trillion yen ($46 billion) by 2025, the sources said, from 1.55 trillion yen forecast for its financial year ending in March.

Founder and CEO Shigenobu Nagamori has in the past alluded to a company vision of 10 trillion yen in revenue by 2030 but has not mapped out specific steps to achieve such a target.

Seki, who told Reuters in December he was leaving Nissan for Nidec, is expected to help Nagamori lead the revenue push.

Nidec has long been synonymous with Nagamori, who started out in 1973 with three workers in a Kyoto shed and built a global powerhouse with more than 100,000 employees, making motors for “everything that spins and moves”.

Nidec already supplies e-axles to automakers such as China’s GAC Motor and France’s Peugeot SA. Rival e-axle makers include Germany’s Bosch and ZF Friedrichshafen and Toyota affiliate BluE Nexus, among others.

Nidec wants to significantly improve the quality and performance of its e-axles so they become “more efficient, smaller and thus cheaper,” one of the sources said.

To meet its growth targets, though, it will have to boost sales of motors beyond those used in EVs and is looking for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the sources said.

From home appliances to cellphones to laptops to other devices, “Nidec will continue to be active in M&A and gobble up attractive tech labs and startups and companies, even if they are small,” one of the sources said.

Nagamori told reporters this month that Nidec could spend 500 billion yen on its growth strategy, including technology acquisitions.

It may use the money to acquire new e-axle technology and know-how to improve its existing products, the sources said, adding that the EV focus was fueled by a belief more and more automakers will replace gasoline vehicles with electric cars.

While pure battery-powered vehicles are just a sliver of global production now, they are expected to make up 5.6% of total production by 2026, according to AutoForecast Solutions.

The research firm estimated production of all EVs, including gasoline hybrids, will reach 13.3 million in 2026 and account for 13.6% of total global car production of 98.1 million.

Industry officials and experts say a key challenge facing Nidec and rival e-axle producers will be to get costs down to roughly $1,500 or below from the roughly $2,000 they cost now.

Nidec’s confidence in the business stems from a view that automakers will behave more like smartphone or laptop producers as they phase out their reliance on the combustion engine.

It believes that EVs – like laptops and smartphones – will be designed with key components that are “as commoditized as Intel chips for laptops”, one of the sources said.

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Tesla directors settle SolarCity lawsuit, leaving Elon Musk the lone defendant

Directors of Tesla Inc settled a shareholder lawsuit over the company’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity Corp, leaving Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk as the lone defendant facing claims that Tesla paid $2.6 billion for a worthless solar energy system installer, according to court documents.

The $60 million settlement comes as a 10-day trial is scheduled to start on March 16 in Delaware in which shareholders seek $2.6 billion in damages, the entire cost of the SolarCity deal.

A lawyer for Musk and a spokesman for Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla shareholders have alleged Musk breached his fiduciary duties, squandered Tesla‘s assets and unjustly enriched himself by pushing to buy the money-losing solar company in which he was the biggest investor.

The settlement covered five current directors: Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Stephen Jurvetson and Kimbal Musk. Brad Buss, who was a director at the time of the SolarCity deal, was also part of the settlement, which was paid from insurance policies, according to court documents.

“Plaintiffs probably think they have a cleaner shot on the merits if the only issues they have to raise are with Elon Musk and Elon Musk’s actions,” said Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School.

The case was brought in the Court of Chancery in Delaware, where Tesla is incorporated, by an individual investor and five investment funds.

Tesla said in a statement to Reuters in September the allegations were “based on the claims of plaintiff’s lawyers looking for a payday, and are not representative of our shareholders.”

The suit represents another legal headache for Musk, who in the past two years has settled a lawsuit by securities regulators over his use of Twitter and won a defamation trial brought by a British cave explorer.

Musk and the Tesla board also are scheduled to defend Musk’s pay package at a trial in Delaware next year.

At the heart of the current case are allegations that Musk and the other board members did not fully disclose the depth of SolarCity’s problems, or their own conflicts.

SolarCity was founded in 2006 by Musk and his cousins, Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, who were the company’s CEO and chief technology officer as well as directors. Musk was SolarCity’s chairman and largest shareholder, and five of Tesla‘s directors were direct or indirect owners of SolarCity stock.

Entering 2016, SolarCity’s stock was on a sharp downward trajectory and the company was slashing its workforce and bleeding cash.

Tesla touted synergies of combining the companies in the all-stock deal, which was approved by Tesla shareholders.

After the deal closed, Tesla slashed its solar sales force and ended a solar marketing deal with Home Depot Inc. Quarterly solar installations plummeted and are well below levels SolarCity enjoyed in its heyday.

Tesla has said Musk’s involvement in deal discussions and all other material information were accurately described to shareholders in public filings before the deal closed.

On Wednesday, Tesla reported its second straight quarterly profit, sending its stock surging to an all-time high.


Super Bowl car commercials: Follow along as we riff on them live

Join Autoblog editors Sunday starting around 6:30 p.m. ET as we react to all of the car commercials during the game. We know Hummer, Porsche, Hyundai and others will have splashy ads, and naturally, there’s usually a few surprises. Whether you’re a Chiefs or 49ers fan — or don’t care about football — the commercials are always a highlight. And for us, the car spots are the most intriguing. Weigh in with your own thoughts in the comments section. Let’s kick off.


Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore liveblogs the first quarter.


We’ll count this as a car commercial. The latest edition of the Fast & Furious looks like it well, will have cars. We’ll punt on further comment.


I like it. Creative. Sort of a Night at the Museum feel. The guards stage a theft and then a car chase. The Taycan looked good. Get fired up — the future for Porsche is electric. The spot is meant to illustrate how fun that can be. I don’t need any convincing. 


Associate Editor Byron Hurd is liveblogging the second quarter. 


Hyundai checked in super early with their Sonata “Smaht Pahk” commercial, which manages to score points for being both cute and clever while also being a fairly good commercial in a vacuum. We saw it last week, so there were no surprises here, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. 

Fun note: If you go to the Sonata landing page on Hyundai’s web site, you can choose “plain old English” or “the Boston way” for your language; the latter will translate the page. Enjoy. 


Hi ho, West Coast Editor James Riswick here. Apparently, the guys in Detroit didn’t get the Mustang Mach E ad featuring Idris Elba and a whole boat load of awesome old Mustangs. Pretty sure it’s bound to be viewed the exact same way as the car itself: traditionalists will be aghast, while non-car people will be intrigued by a new, all-electric, crossover version of one of the few cars they’ve heard of. 


They’re coming more rapidly now. Genesis gets some love thanks to Chrissy Teigen and John Legend; this was another known quantity, but Hyundai’s luxury brand managed another solid entry here thanks to its choice of stars. Teigen and Legend got the chance to throw back to the latter’s “Sexiest Man Alive” honors, which Teigen often teases him for. Another solid all-around spot. 


Are there just no surprises left? Don’t tell me; I know the answer. LeBron James fronts the revived Hummer, which will be an EV sold as a GMC. None of it really makes any sense, and these stitched-together 15-second spots are questionable, but we no less excited to see what GM has in store for the new electric pickup. 


Assistant Editor Editor Zac Palmer is liveblogging halftime.


And NASCAR takes the field right after Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Fantastic halftime show, by the way. The Daytona 500 runs on Feb. 16 for those who want to catch the spectacle. I didn’t see any left turns in the quick clip. A missed opportunity, at any rate.

No automakers did full length halftime commercials this year. We’ll keep our eyes peeled in the third quarter.


And now, coming in from the Portland bullpen with a faulty metaphor, West Coast Editor James Riswick is liveblogging the third quarter.  


Is Doritos a car company? It is not. But hey, its ad featured a horse, which is a vehicle … ish. And I just have to say that Lil Nas X riding a horse with giant speakers draped over the hind end gave me a chuckle. So props to you Doritos. Which reminds me, why don’t I have any Doritos? #SuperBowlFail

As our editors are spread throughout the country, we’ve noticed that not every commercial is being shown in every market. I didn’t see the following in Portland, so take it away Tony …


What’s up! Chicago contributor Tony Markovich here. Kia had the first car commercial of the third quarter and showed off the new Seltos crossover. Featuring Josh Jacobs, who was homeless for part of his childhood, the commercial ties into the company’s new tagline, “Give it Everything.” It’s certainly inspirational, but it’s still a bit of a random tie-in for a commercial.

And I guess that’s it for the third. Now turning things over to Jeremy in Columbus, Ohio. Portland and Chicago out. 


Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski is currently holding up four fingers and bringing us home.


Cobie Smulders, who, according to James, is a “Canadian treasure” (I had no idea), just picked up a Toyota Highlander’s worth of movie tropes. Point being, I guess, is that the Highlander is roomy. I wonder if you could fit in the entire San Francisco offensive line in there?

I also saw commercials for my local Columbus-area Lamborghini and Porsche dealerships. That was unexpected.


Gotta hand it to Jeep, that’s a fun commercial. It features a bright orange Gladiator, a cute little (animatronic) critter, and American treasure (sorry, James) Bill Murray. Bringing back other well-known members of the movie cast was a fun addition, too. As an interesting little side note, this was Murray’s first-ever nationally televised commercial. Pretty cool that Jeep got him to do it. “I imagine they drove a dumptruck full of money up to his house,” quips contributor Joe Lorio.

And now back to the game, which is getting good in the fourth quarter.


And now it’s time for Audi to trot out Maisie Williams for a Frozen-themed Let it Go commercial. I’ve never seen Frozen, but I’ve (of course) heard the song. In case it’s not clear, what we’re being prompted to let go are fossil fuels, since the e-tron Sportback is electric. And while we’re talking about things that aren’t clear, why the lower-case e-tron but capitalized Sportback? Strange.

And that ends the game, and therefore our live blog of the commercials. Unless something else surprises us during the postgame ceremonies, we’re outta here. Thanks for tuning in!


Jeep’s Groundhog Day Super Bowl commercial stars Bill Murray

Set to kick off on Fox at 6:30 ET on Sunday, February 2, from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida, the big game will feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. Throughout Super Bowl LIV, viewers will see about 50 commercials, each of which costs as much as $5.6 million per 30 seconds, according to AdWeek. Originally, there were more than 77 ad slots, so several companies could be paying well more than $10 million for a single, longer commercial. Numerous car companies have already announced their commercials, or their intentions to show commercials, during the game. Here’s a roundup of the ones we know about so far. During the game on Sunday, we’ll be livestreaming and adding links to the new commercials as they become available, so check back with us for that post. 

Audi: E-Tron Sportback

Maisie Williams has experience wearing many faces, and in Audi’s Super Bowl commercial, she does her best Elsa impression. In the spot, titled “Let It Go,” Williams faces the rigorous task of getting through L.A. traffic, but she’s alleviated by the comfort of the Audi E-Tron Sportback electric crossover. The commercial is meant to signal the company leaving its gas past behind and moving forward to a sustainable future. 

Genesis: GV80

Genesis makes its Super Bowl debut with a commercial that will show its all-new SUV, the GV80, to viewers around the world (many of which will be seeing the vehicle for the first time). The ad features Chrissy Teigen and John Legend as the purveyors of “new luxury,” while “old luxury” is left for the birds.

GMC: Hummer

General Motors is bringing back the Hummer nameplate as a premium electric GMC truck. GM says it will have 1,000 horsepower and will be capable of going zero to 60 mph in three seconds. GM brought in NBA legend and Hummer fanboy LeBron James for the debut commercial.

Hyundai: Sonata

Hyundai is known for bringing in the big-time celebrities for its commercials, and 2020 is no different. A new advertisement called “Smaht Pahk” features John Krasinski, Chris Evans, and Rachel Dratch, all three of whom are from the Boston area. The trio gets into full character as they discuss the new high-tech parking feature on the redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata, and David Ortiz makes a cameo at the end. Even when New England isn’t in the Super Bowl, New England is in the Super Bowl.

Jeep: Groundhog Day

Jeep’s 60-second commercial spot stars Bill Murray reprising his role as Phil Connors from the classic 1993 film Groundhog Day. The clip also stars Brian Doyle Murray as Buster Green and Stephen Tobolowsky as the ever-irritating Ned Ryerson. To keep up appearances, the ad was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, the same location as original 1993 film. Apparently, access to a Jeep Gladiator is enough to keep things interesting for Connors and his newfound four-legged friend.

Kia: Seltos

Commercial above, behind-the-scenes documentary about Josh Jacobs below.

Kia chose Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs to represent the brand in its new commercial titled “Tough Never Quits.” Jacobs, who had 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns this past season, is one of the most exciting new backs in the league, but Kia picked him for a different reason. As the above documentary explains, Jacobs was homeless and slept in a car with his dad for much of his early life. The sentimental ad shows Jacobs encouraging and inspiring a younger version of himself while driving in the company’s new Seltos crossover.

Porsche: Taycan

Porsche hasn’t made a Super Bowl commercial since 1997. It never needed to, because, well, it’s Porsche. But car culture has changed drastically in 23 years, and the brand’s most important new vehicle in 2020 is a four-door that runs on batteries and plugs in. To alert the masses of its monumental new take on a sports car, Porsche is launching “The Heist,” a short video that shows the Taycan in a chase with some of the Porsche Museum’s most prized possessions.

Toyota: Highlander

No Toyota will top the excitement of last year’s Supra commercial, but the new Highlander is going to give it a shot. Toyota will launch a new campaign for 2020 with a 60-second ad for the revamped SUV. Toyota is one of a few that have chosen to not show the video before the game.

Volvo: NA

Similar to last year’s strategy, Volvo opted to run a contest instead of buying a commercial. If either team scores a safety during the game, Volvo will give away $1,000,000 worth of cars to random participants. The only way to enter is by configuring your ideal Volvo. 

Bonus: Walmart movie rides

No, Walmart isn’t announcing a surprise automobile concept like Sony, but we felt Walmart’s Super Bowl commercial, a first for the company, featured enough transportation to include it. Highlighting the pickup feature at Walmart stores, the spot includes several vehicles from films such as Arrival, Blade Runner, Guardians of the Galaxy, The LEGO Movie, Mars Attacks, Marvin the Martian, Men in Black, Star Trek, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Star Wars. This commercial, “Famous Visitors,” is a follow-up to a previous campaign called “Famous Cars.”


Acura NSX engine gets a deep dive by the people who make it

“The development leaders of the original NSX told us not to copy what they did.” That quote from Ted Klaus, the global development leader for the NSX, explains so much about the new NSX. We’re not sure Klaus’ team could have copied the 1990s super coupe, seeing that the first NSX helped populate the world with amazing, comfortable, more practical, and much more reliable exotics. Still, Klaus’ team would have created a different vehicle than the one we have today if mimicry had been the order. That counts for the engine, too. The first NSX used a special version of the standard production engine in the Acura Legend, and the original plan for the second coming of the NSX was to spiff up a production motor from elsewhere in the Honda fold. Klaus said that by “asking ourselves the right questions,” his crew decided to develop the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo V6 mounted in the middle of the car, and a new video explores what goes into the bespoke, 500-horsepower unit.

The ten-minute film is full of novel details about the power plant as well as the reasons for those details. One of the justifications for creating a new engine was that Honda knew it wanted to take the NSX racing. The 75-degree bank angle is generous enough to be able to house turbos underneath the banks, low enough so that when bolted into the chassis, the top of the heads lie below the tops of the rear tires. Even the GPS-equipped tools used to build the motor are high-tech, with items like torque wrenches tied into production software so the computer verifies each step is completed in order and to spec. One engineer breaks in each engine on a test bench before the motor is installed in the car, so instead of needing to electronically curtail a driver’s exuberance for the first few hundred miles, a dealership new NSX can be flogged as soon as the purchase papers are signed. And each engine is balanced after assembly, then again after break-in.

Craftspeople in Honda’s Anna Engine Plant in Anna, Ohio build each motor, one technician taking about five hours to build each unit. The art happens in a 4,000-square-foot engine cave carved out of the 2.2-million-square-foot facility that produces roughly 4,500 engines for other Honda vehicles every day. The video’s definitely worth a watch.


Ex-Force India owner reacts to Racing Point/Aston Martin F1 deal

Former Force India team owner Vijay Mallya says he’s “delighted” that the Formula 1 outfit now known as Racing Point will have Aston Martin support from 2021. Current team owner Lawrence Stroll has acquired a shareholding in Aston Martin and that arrangement will lead to the rebranding of Racing Point for next year via a sponsorship deal from the sportscar manufacturer. Mallya, who owned the squad from 2008 until it hit financial problems in the summer of ’18, says he has congratulated Stroll on the deal. “I am delighted for Lawrence and I’m delighted for the team,” Mallya told Autosport. “To ultimately become a works team was always a dream. “Lawrence and I are friends, and in fact I congratulated him this morning on the news. He’s a very astute investor, and his track record proves that. “If you look at the share price of Aston Martin today, he’s obviously made a sweetheart deal. “Under his chairmanship and with the new range of models that Aston is planning there’s only one way to go, and that’s north. “For Racing Point it is absolutely fabulous that it will become a works team with support from a great British marque like Aston, with all its heritage. “Aston has plenty of followers, and they will all become Racing Point followers as well.” Mallya had tried unsuccessfully to secure sponsorship from Aston Martin in late 2015, with the backing eventually going to Red Bull instead. “We had conversations with Aston five years ago, not to become a works team, but to have Aston become the title sponsor, and give us some technical support,” he explained. “I don’t know what the deal is with Red Bull, but I don’t think Aston has technical input. Red Bull have the genius Adrian Newey, so I don’t think they need anybody else!” Mallya, who visited the Racing Point motorhome at last year’s British Grand Prix, insists that he does not miss his previous close involvement in F1. “I had 10 full years in F1,” he said. “I enjoyed every moment of those 10 years, and now it’s time to do something else. “I nursed it along for 10 years, I delivered two results of fourth in the constructors’ championship, which I’m very proud of. “The team is still in my DNA, and I’m absolutely delighted for the team. “I believe the car for 2020 has made some giant strides and I’m eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the season.”