Christian Horner addresses rumours of huge Red Bull-McLaren partnership

Mark Scott
Respective Red Bull and McLaren drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on press conference duties in Spain. June 2023

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on press conference duties in Spain. June 2023

Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said there are absolutely no plans on the horizon to join forces with McLaren via an engine partnership.

Changes in F1 engine deals are afoot with Red Bull Powertrains and Ford to unite for the F1 2026 season and beyond, while Honda – who are unofficially supplying Red Bull with their power unites after a ‘split’ at the end of the 2021 campaign – are marking their return, also in 2026, with Aston Martin.

That will mean Aston Martin severing their existing ties with current engine supplier Mercedes and there has been suggestions that McLaren may fancy following suit in their continued quest to return to the top of the F1 ladder.

McLaren Racing boss, Zak Brown, did visit Red Bull’s factory back in February, just to add to those rumours, while McLaren’s recent acquisition of senior Red Bull designer, Rob Marshall, also came with the whiff that this move may well just be part of something a whole lot bigger.

However, Horner has categorically put those rumours to bed and said there is simply no room at the inn for Red Bull to take on more customers when they already have four cars to power – two at Red Bull and two at sister team AlphaTauri.

“No, Rob [Marshall] is not going with an engine,” Horner told media outlets, including and as quoted by RacingNews365.com.

“Our plan at the moment is to supply two teams because we don’t want to overstretch ourselves in the first year. And of course, those teams are likely to be the two Red Bull-owned teams.”

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The same message is also coming from the McLaren camp, with team boss Andrea Stella saying exploratory talks with Red Bull did take place earlier in the year – but all is well with their current engine suppliers Mercedes.

He revealed: “We had conversations with Red Bull a few months ago as part of the due diligence in exploring what’s available in the market in terms of power unit for 2026.

“But at the moment, we are quite advanced in our negotiations with HPP [Mercedes High Performance Powertrains], so there’s no conversation ongoing with Red Bull.”