Red Bull says its new Formula 1 power unit facility will eventually be able to supply engines to up to four teams.
The team started working on the new Red Bull Powertrains division last year. In the year It has developed the first V6 engine prototype for the new F1 formula that will be launched in 2026.
Team principal Christian Horner said Red Bull’s high costs of building their own engines would be further offset by potential savings at their F1 team following the introduction of a budget cap last year.
“Of course we have the burden of the existing power units and development costs,” he admitted. But by the time we get to 2026, the budget cap will kick in and costs will be more bearable than they were two or three years ago. So the cost was once again basic to become a new income.
The initial plan is for Red Bull to supply engines to its own team and the junior team AlphaTauri. But it will have the potential to take on more customers, Horner said.
“The way we’re organized, we have the capacity to produce engines for up to four teams,” he said. “But that certainly won’t be the first goal. The initial plan is apparently to offer the two Red Bull-owned teams.
Mercedes currently supplies engines to four teams, the factory Mercedes team and three customers, but indicated earlier this year that it plans to scale back. That leaves McLaren, Williams or Aston Martin looking for a new supplier.
Ferrari already supplies engines to its team and Alfa Romeo and Haas, while Alpine is the sole user of Renault engines.
Red Bull currently uses power units made by Honda, which officially withdrew at the end of last season, but continues to be sponsored by Honda Racing Corporation until the end of 2025. While Red Bull’s talks about a potential tie-up with Porsche have been futile, rumors now suggest Honda is considering a swift return to F1. Horner is ready to meet with Honda, regardless of whether Red Bull’s plans are laid out for others.
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“Our train left the station on the 26th,” he said. “We have the engine and the prototype running. We’ve all been given a dino mission, we’re up.
“Honda [are] Great company. They announced their withdrawal from F1 to focus on electrifying their products, away from the combustion engine. So if they are looking at a return to F1 they should be considered.
“So there’s some interest, on the battery side, and there could be an interesting discussion about whether or not there are potential synergies. But the combustion and mechanical side of the engine, we’re very happy with the roadmap to 2026.”
Horner admits Red Bull designing their own engine was a big undertaking. But he believes a sole constructor building a full F1 car in the same space would make Ferrari competitive. The rival Mercedes operation is split between the Brackley chassis factory and the Brixworth motor facility.
“Once we made the decision, it was a total commitment,” he said. “This is no small task, some people are saying that we are completely mad to play like Ferrari and Mercedes and Renault and Honda even from scratch. But that’s exactly the Red Bull way of achieving the impossible. This has been said about the chassis design and construction.
“With the quality of people we’ve been able to recruit, there hasn’t been such investment in an engine facility in the UK in the last 40 years. So that has allowed us to attract some amazing talent that we are still actively recruiting and announce some more new members to the team in the near future.
But it’s a lot of fun. I think everyone in the business is very excited about the opportunity it presents, giving jobs in the UK at a time when the budget caps on the chassis side are contract teams. I think it gives us a unique place other than Ferrari to have the compound that creates everything under one roof.
Red Bull may also produce their own engine for the recently announced RB17 hypercar, Horner added.
“It will allow us to look at other projects, such as the RB17, as we have created our own power unit for that,” he said. “Therefore, it is a logical investment to strategically take our future, rather than rely on becoming a customer after Honda announces its exit.”
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