Red Bull explain why conversations about extending with Honda broke down

Michelle Foster
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, Helmut Marko and Honda's Masashi Yamamoto celebrate. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Max Verstappen, Helmut Marko and Honda's Masashi Yamamoto celebrate World Championship success. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Christian Horner has revealed Red Bull did speak with Honda about continuing their collaboration beyond 2025, but that it “logistically became too complicated”.

Red Bull first teamed up with Honda in 2018, that partnership yielding 33 grand prix wins, two Drivers’ Championship titles and one Constructors’ crown.

These days, though, it is carried out under the Red Bull name after Honda officially withdrew from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season only to agree a deal to assist Red Bull with the running of their engines for 2022.

That collaboration was subsequently extended through to the end of 2025, the final season of F1’s engine freeze, after which Red Bull will develop their own power unit.

The reigning World Championship began searching for a new engine partner, entering talks with Porsche before eventually signing with Ford, that deal announced in New York last week.

But following Ford’s confirmation, the FIA confirmed that Honda too would be on the grid come 2026 having signed up in light of the new regulations.

They are now said to be in talks with McLaren regarding joining forces for the third time.

Horner has revealed Red Bull also spoke with Honda about 2026 but the talks broke down.

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“We have a great relationship with Honda and we’ve enjoyed so much success with them,” he said as per, “and that relationship runs to the end of 2025.

“Both the team and Honda will be doing everything possible to add to the success that we’ve already achieved to the conclusion of those agreements.

“We explored the relationship beyond 2025. But it just logistically became too complicated.”

The 49-year-old has also cast doubt on Honda actually being on the grid in 2026, revealing nothing is set in stone.

“Of course manufacturers that are registered on that entry today, it doesn’t mean a commitment that they’re actually going to be there in 2026,” he said. “We will of course wish Honda the very best of luck in the future.

“We’ve had an incredible partnership with Honda. When they initially announced their withdrawal from Formula 1 in 2020, then it was with great sadness. That is what prompted the creation of Red Bull Powertrains to take control of our own future.

“As we set off on that journey, obviously there was a change of plan with Honda thankfully agreeing to continue to supply engines until the end of 2025 while, in turn, we were building up our resource for 2026.

“That contract we have until the end of 2025. We have a great working relationship there. They are an incredible company and, under the current regulations, we will be pushing with Honda all the way to the last race of the 2025 season.”

The team expects a very different relationship with Ford to what Red Bull have with Honda.

“There is obviously a clear difference between the 2026 program that Red Bull Powertrains is focused on and this relationship with Ford, and the close working relationship with Honda to obviously optimise the best performance we can out of the current homologated engine to the end of 2025,” he added.