Red Bull could build its own Formula 1 power units when a new, more affordable set of regulations are finalised by either 2025 or ’26.
Since its inaugural season in 2005, Red Bull has always been a customer team. After brief stints with Cosworth and Ferrari, the Milton Keynes outfit switched to Renault engines. They scored four successive teams’ and drivers’ titles with Renault, which is their most successful partnership to date.
Red Bull then turned to Honda at the start of 2019 following an unceremonious fallout with the French marque. The team essentially became the Japanese manufacturer’s works squad.
However, Honda has confirmed their exit from the series at the end of the 2021 season.
Honda’s departure leaves Red Bull in an awkward situation for 2022. It appears increasingly likely it will take over the running of the Honda project.
Red Bull will then run and develop Honda’s current-spec engine until the introduction of the next-generation regulations in either 2025 or 2026.
The new engine formula will be similar to the current V6 turbo power unit, but could ditch the expensive MGU-H system while pushing the boundaries with new sustainable fuel technologies.
According to Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko, the team are considering manufacturing their own engines for when the sport’s new hybrid power units come into effect.
“If the hints become true that the new engine is much simpler in design; that the MGU-H is eliminated, and that it remains innovative but the annual cost limit is somewhere around 50 million, then it’s no longer such a complex issue as the current engine,” Marko told Autosport.
“That means you could then do the development for such an engine with the paraphernalia we will have in Milton Keynes.”
Asked if that meant building their own unit, he replied: “Correct. Whether on its own or in cooperation, that’s a matter of negotiation then, I would say.”
Marko also affirmed his team’s commitment to Honda, denying any rumours of the team being in talks with Renault about a new customer deal.
“Our focus is fully on the Honda project,” he said.
Red Bull’s deal to continue using Honda engines beyond 2021 is almost complete. Still, it hinges on the decision by the remaining three manufacturers to agree to a development freeze.
Currently, Mercedes and Ferrari have supported the idea, but Renault remains undecided.