Christian Horner exclusive: Why ‘ballsy’ Red Bull Powertrains project simply ‘has to work’

Thomas Maher
Christian Horner with Helmut Marko at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Christian Horner has shared an update on how behind the scenes work on Red Bull Powertrains is progressing...

Christian Horner has shared an update on the progress of the burgeoning Red Bull Powertrains project as it gears up for entry to F1, emphasising the importance of having to make this decision work.

Red Bull’s own engine department is slowly but surely finding its feet in the background, after the team decided to take on the ambitious project ahead of the 2026 engine regulation changes.

With Honda on the sidelines since officially departing F1 at the end of 2021, continuing their supply of power units to Red Bull during the four-year engine freeze currently in place, Red Bull are creating their own powertrains to replace the Japanese manufacturer for the start of the new regulation cycle.

Christian Horner ‘confident’ in RBPT progress

Speaking to in an exclusive interview ahead of the 2024 season, Horner paid tribute to the hard work that’s being carried out on the Red Bull campus in Milton Keynes and shared an update on how work is progressing.

“It’s busy, there’s 24 months before that engine will be being bolted into the back of the RB22,” he said.

“It’s not that long in the engine world so there’s still an awful lot more to do in a very short period of time.

“But I’m confident that we’ve got the right people, and we can get there.”

Recently, Italian media revealed Ferrari have got the first iterations of their 2026 power unit physically created and fired up – where are Red Bull in terms of that milestone?

“We’re not going to go into detail yet of where we’re at, but we’re on a trajectory,” he said.

“But we’ve got a lot of ground to cover and a lot of ground to make up – we’re competing against manufacturers that have decades of experience.

“Red Bull, 30 months ago, this project was still embryonic. So what’s been achieved in 13 months has been outstanding.” recommends

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With Honda officially returning to F1 in 2026 after signing a deal to supply Aston Martin, Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko confirmed this month that there is no ‘Plan B’ for Red Bull if their RBPT engines are less than competitive.

“Helmut’s absolutely right – we’ve made our commitment, we’ve made our strategic decision for the future and we have to make it work,” Horner said.

A potential consequence of a less competitive engine could be impatience from Max Verstappen, with the Dutch driver holding his team to high standards at all times. Is that something that concerns Horner ahead of crunch time?

“I don’t think it’s just about Max. We’re all very impatient in Formula 1,” he said.

“Everybody wants to be competitive. It’s a massive undertaking. It’s a ballsy undertaking that we’ve taken on but we believe that it’s the right route for the company, for the future.”

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