Red Bull prepared to supply customer engines

Jon Wilde
Red Bull garage

Red Bull garage

Christian Horner has confirmed Red Bull would fulfil any requirement to supply other teams with engines when their new operation is up and running.

Red Bull have now formally announced they are taking over the Honda engine programme following the Japanese company’s announcement last autumn that they will withdraw from F1 at the end of this year.

The top priority for Red Bull quickly became sourcing their own engines, also for their ‘sister’ team AlphaTauri, and the starting pistol to get the plan moving was fired last week when a freeze on engine development in Formula 1 from 2022 was voted through.

It means Red Bull will join Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault as engine providers – and like that trio, they could be obliged to supply power units to other teams if necessary.

That was a scenario Red Bull would have found themselves at the opposite end of had they not decided to set up their own engine shop – under the rules, it would have meant an awkward reunion with Renault, who currently have the fewest customer teams as they are only supplying their own Alpine outfit.

However, in the future, the boot could be on the other foot for Red Bull.

Their team principal Christian Horner, quoted by RacingNews365, said: “By taking on the obligations of an engine manufacturer you’re bound by your obligations to supply, so that would be no different to any other manufacturer.”

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Although Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko recently suggested the Austrian-owned energy drink giant could try to recoup some of the cost of setting up their engine operation by selling naming rights for the power unit, Horner insisted the immediate plan was to keep it simple.

“As far as the badging is concerned, there’s no discussions under way regarding that, so it will be a Red Bull engine,” said Horner.

“Mercedes is a Mercedes. It will be an incorporated part of the car, so it will just be a Red Bull.”

The team boss added that despite the announcement of the plan for 2022 and beyond, nothing will change this year in terms of Honda’s involvement until their scheduled exit.

“Honda are continuing to operate as usual this year,” said Horner.

“They will stay committed to the sport until December 31st, during which time they will obviously be working with fuel partner Exxon Mobil, which they are currently doing with the development of the E10 fuel, which is obviously the biggest regulation change into next year.

“So it’s business as usual very much for the 2021 year.”

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