Christian Horner reveals why ‘several teams’ have approached Red Bull

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez in action for Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Sergio Perez in action for Red Bull at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2023.

Christian Horner has revealed that “several teams” have come to Red Bull asking about a potential customer power unit deal from 2026.

The sport’s technical regulations will reset that year and Red Bull will become their own factory team when their partnership with Honda ends, founding a new Powertrains divisino and announcing a title partnership with Ford from 2026 onwards.

Red Bull’s chief engineering officer Rob Marshall was recently signed by McLaren, and the team principal was asked if a customer power unit arrangement with McLaren, who currently run with Mercedes engines, was a part of his settlement to be allowed to leave.

Horner denied this, but did admit others have been in contact about running with Red Bull power in the future.

“No, Rob is not leaving with an engine if that’s what you mean,” Horner said with a laugh to reporters, per the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.

“But it is true that we have already been approached by several teams to supply engines to them from 2026.

“Currently our plan is to provide engines to only two teams in 2026. This is mainly because we don’t want to overburden our department immediately in the first year.

“And yes, if we will only supply two teams with engines, it is very likely that these will be Red Bull’s own two teams.”

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Who are potential Red Bull Powertrains customers?

With six factory constructors (Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, Audi, Alpine-Renault and Aston Martin-Honda) due to be on the grid from the 2026 season, it leaves Formula 1 in the unusual position of having more works teams than customer teams.

Of the current teams, this leaves Haas, Alfa Romeo, Williams and McLaren potentially looking around for an engine deal, but with the FIA and Formula 1 having recently closed the application process for new teams from 2025 onwards, there is also the possibility of new teams arriving on the grid and looking for a power unit.

As the current World Champions who are enjoying proven success with Honda, Red Bull would make themselves prime candidates for anyone looking for a customer PU if a new team or new teams make it onto the grid.

There is no guarantee of a new team making it onto the grid at all just yet, and with Haas’ technical operation moving to Maranello, next to Ferrari’s base, and long-time Mercedes man James Vowles having moved to Williams this year, it’s unlikely those two teams will deviate from their current path for now.

Should a current team be looking for a Red Bull PU, by this logic, this would leave McLaren as the most likely candidate for now.