Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed that Honda will continue to build and supply power units to his team until 2025. The team will continue to be supported by its former engine partner, despite the latter officially quitting F1 at the end of last season.
Speaking in a post-season interview with RN365, Horner said:
“As part of our agreement with Honda, the engines continue to be assembled in Japan, in Sakura and support with technical assistance (will arrive) from Japan. Most likely (until 2025), it’s something we’re in discussion about at the moment. The probability is that the engines will, as of 2022, continue to be produced and built in Japan and shipped to us.”
“We’re very grateful to Honda to provide that olive branch as we transition into being an engine manufacturer. They’ll come as sealed units from Japan; all the race support will happen from Japan as well this year. It’s a technical agreement, so it’s a very broad brush at the moment.”
The Japanese engine-maker decided to leave F1 for the fourth time, after just seven years in the sport in its latest stint. Subsequently, Red Bull decided to acquire Honda’s F1 operations including the power unit's intellectual property (IP) rights. The details of the deal, however, have been very unclear, and the relationship between the two parties seems to be much more collaborative and broader than originally speculated.
Future of Red Bull powertrains unclear amid Porsche links for 2026
After Honda’s exit, Red Bull was unwilling to link up with other existing F1 power unit suppliers. The team wanted to maintain its “works” status and instead chose to take over Honda’s F1 operations. It was originally believed that the team would take over Honda’s IP entirely and build its own engine until the new regulations come into force.
The Milton Keynes-based outfit heavily lobbied the FIA at the end of 2020 to implement a freeze on the current generation power unit development until the new era in 2025. With rival manufacturers also in agreement, the freeze was formally implemented at the start of 2021.
Red Bull originally intended to develop its own power units for the 2026 engine regulations and established a powertrains department at its headquarters in Milton Keynes. It then went on a hiring spree throughout last season, poaching talent from rival teams, including Mercedes, and across other categories of motorsports.
After the first draft of new power unit regulations was formally announced, German automaker Volkswagen showed a strong interest in entering F1 in 2026. The automaker is engaged with the Austrian team for a possible engine partnership with one of its sportscar brands, Porsche, when the new power unit regulations arrive.
While the talks are still at an early stage, if the two parties come to an agreement to compete as a joint entry in F1, Red Bull Powertrains' future in the sport might be in jeopardy. Milton Keynes might choose to abandon their power unit plans or might even merge with Porsche’s operation.
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