Red Bull strikes deal to continue using Honda’s F1 engines until 2025
Image credit: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo
Red Bull has announced it will continue to use Honda’s Formula One (F1) power units from 2022 until 2025, with the F1 team introducing its own powertrain company.
Japan’s Honda, which is engine partner to Red Bull Racing and Italy-based sister team AlphaTauri, announced last year that it would be leaving the sport as a power unit manufacturer at the end of 2021 to focus on zero-emission technology.
The team’s announcement comes after Formula One teams and manufacturers agreed last week to “freeze” power unit development from the start of 2022. The agreement with Honda covers the duration of the freeze, which will run until the sport introduces the next generation of power units in 2025.
A new company called Red Bull Powertrains Limited has been formed to run the project, and will operate out of Red Bull’s main base, now formally Honda’s F1 powertrain factory, in Milton Keynes.
“We have been discussing this topic with Honda for some time, and following the FIA’s decision to freeze power unit development from 2022, we could at last reach an agreement regarding the continued use of Honda’s hybrid power units,” said Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko.
Marko added that the team is grateful for Honda’s collaboration in this regard and for helping to ensure that both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri continue to have competitive power units.
“The establishment of Red Bull Powertrains Limited is a bold move by Red Bull but it is one we have made after careful and detailed consideration,” he said. “We are aware of the huge commitment required but we believe the creation of this new company is the most competitive option for both teams.”
Meanwhile, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “We were understandably disappointed when Honda made the decision to leave the sport as an engine manufacturer... but we are grateful for their support in facilitating this new agreement. Honda has invested significantly in hybrid technology to ensure the supply of competitive power units to both teams.”
Both Red Bull-owned teams won races last year and Honda, who have restored their reputation after a dismal previous stint with McLaren, have promised to develop their engines further before they depart. The team is hoping to make a serious title challenge to Mercedes’s long domination of the V6 turbo hybrid era this year with team-mates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
The engine freeze was a vital part of the puzzle for the former champions, who said they would not have been able to afford the costs of continuing to develop the Honda power unit to stay competitive. The alternative would have been Renault, whose engines powered Red Bull to four successive drivers’ and constructors’ championships with Sebastian Vettel from 2010-13 at the end of the V8 era.
Red Bull fell out with Renault before switching to Honda engines for the 2019 season and were reluctant to go back to the French manufacturer, who supply only their own team and would have capacity.
The move means that Formula One will still have four different engines competing next year – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault, and Red Bull’s.
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