Martin Brundle believes Formula 1’s changing regulations will make it impossible for Red Bull to attract a new engine manufacturer into the sport for 2022.
As things stand, only three engine manufacturers will remain – Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. There are obvious issues attached to joining forces with any of those for Red Bull because they are direct rivals of Mercedes and Ferrari, while they suffered a fraught relationship with Renault before going their separate ways after 2018.
Sky Sports co-commentator Brundle thinks that with new engine regulations scheduled for 2026, Red Bull have a difficult job on their hands to persuade a fresh name to link up with them for the five seasons before then.
“I know Formula 1 are currently working on the new 2026 engine and the relevance and importance of that will have just taken a great big step forward with this announcement,” Brundle told Sky Sports F1.
“You can’t imagine any other manufacturers wanting to join in with a super-expensive hybrid F1 engine now. It’s not relevant to their future business models.
“No new manufacturer can get up and running with one of these V6 hybrids and dream of matching the three that are in there already with all the experience they’ve got, particularly when you know there’s a new engine coming for 2026 anyway.
“In power-unit development terms, that’s not actually very far away. You’d want a two or three-year lead time to get ready for that.”
Therefore, according to Brundle, Red Bull will need to look to one of their opponents on the grid – and thinks they may have to let bygones be bygones with Renault.
“For 2022, it will be a question of one of the three existing manufacturers making some more power units available for Red Bull,” said the former F1 racer.
“But that’s quite a ramp-up for someone, which is why it’s good for Red Bull that this isn’t happening next year.
“You don’t just make more power units for customers – you need all of the resource to refurbish them and run them at the track. That’s a lot of people.
“I don’t quite see how Mercedes would work. Going back to Ferrari or Renault? It might suit Renault. They are losing McLaren at the end of this year, so they will be on an island by themselves, but so much went on last time between them.”