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Aston Martin’s Formula One success drives share price

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Aston Martin’s surprise strong showing at the first Formula One race of the season in Bahrain, where driver Fernando Alonso came third, might have contributed to a sharp rally in the share price of the sports car maker which shares its name.

At one stage its shares were up by 22 per cent, adding £400 million to its value, before closing up more than 15 per cent at 276p.

The Aston Martin F1 team and Aston Martin Lagonda, the Warwickshire-based car manufacturer, are two different entities, though with a common ownership.

The F1 team is owned by Lawrence Stroll, 63, a Canadian billionaire who is the second largest private individual shareholder in Aston Martin Lagonda after he led a rescue of the company in 2020.

His stake has been diluted in rescue refinancings after which the sovereign wealth arm of Saudi Arabia, the owner of Newcastle United FC, is the largest shareholder with about one sixth of the stock.

Stroll’s son, Lance, drives for his father’s team and came sixth in Bahrain. Alonso, a former world champion, was driving in his first race for Aston Martin and his performance marked only the second time Aston Martin had finished on the podium in 50 Grand Prix starts.

Anthony Dick, a car industry analyst at Oddo BHF, said the team’s unexpectedly good performance could be behind the rally in its share price, but noted that it “could be some shorts [sellers] covering a generally improved perception on the back of reassuring FY22 results”.

However, Jefferies’ analysts warned that the shares “have run ahead of themselves”, setting a target price of 160p, well below its intraday high of 300p.

Shares in Aston Martin were already up by 20 per cent on its results last week when it reported its first profit of £16 million in the final trading quarter of 2022.

Stroll has never made a secret of his belief of how valuable success on the racetrack will be to Aston Martin Lagonda in marketing terms.

In recent stock market presentations Stoll said the 150 million-strong Aston F1 fanbase is attracting younger customers to its showrooms and quoted research which shows that “more than 95 per cent of US customers feel Aston Martin’s presence in F1 made them more likely to consider the brand.”

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