Renault even scores in F1 2026 PU debate in blow for Red Bull – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on the grid. Abu Dhabi, November 2022.

Christian Horner looks down the grid before the race. Abu Dhabi, November 2022.

There has been no shortage of key talking points in another busy day in the world of Formula 1, Renault this time getting in on the action.

Elsewhere, Christian Horner has been on the offensive again against his Mercedes frenemy Toto Wolff, while we have also nailed down where Nyck de Vries ranks among the shortest-tenured F1 drivers this century after his axing by Red Bull.

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

So, now that we have set the scene, let us take you into the thick of the action.

Renault happy with the F1 2026 power unit regulations as they are

A reflection of the quality of racing out front in F1 2023, perhaps, is the fact that a matter to be played out three seasons ahead is currently a major talking point.

Red Bull principal Horner started the debate about the regulations currently in place for the new-look 2026 power units, revealing his concerns over the impacts of the 50/50 split between electrical and internal combustion engine power.

Long story short, he found an ally in Ferrari, but a familiar opponent in Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who said there is “zero chance” of a re-write now.

Renault meanwhile have at this stage entered the chat, and their stance is not good news for Horner.

“Speaking to the powertrain guys we want to keep it as is,” Otmar Szafnauer, team boss of the Renault-powered Alpine squad, told the media including PlanetF1.com.

Read more: Renault even the scores in F1 2026 PU debate as doubts emerge about Red Bull engine

Christian Horner takes swipe at Mercedes engine ‘customer’ Toto Wolff

By this stage Horner and Wolff have already gone back and forth in their spat over the 2026 power unit regulations, but Horner had another card to play against the Mercedes team boss.

Now, from 2026, Red Bull will officially become a Formula 1 PU manufacturer via their Red Bull Powertrains division, in collaboration with American automotive giant Ford.

Mercedes, meanwhile, have two bases, their chassis team in Brackley, plus the Mercedes HPP division operating out of Brixworth.

That then was the ammunition which Horner required to add a fresh layer to this ongoing battle.

“I’m not sure how close Toto is to his engine business, because he’s a customer, he’s not involved in HPP’s business formally,” said Horner as per Motorsport.com.

Read more: Christian Horner labels Toto Wolff a ‘customer’ of his own engines in fresh swipe

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Where does Nyck de Vries’ F1 career rank after Red Bull sacking?

A driver who now has experience of the Mercedes and Red Bull camps, it is safe to say that De Vries will not look back on his time too favourably with the latter.

After struggling to make a good impression during his 10 grands prix with Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri, the decision was made to give him his marching orders and send Daniel Ricciardo on loan to replace the Dutchman for the rest of the season.

That brings De Vries’ grand total of F1 appearances to 11, adding in his one-off outing with Williams at Monza last year.

Read more – Revealed: The shortest F1 careers this century in the brutal world of Formula 1

Key AlphaTauri weakness could spell bad news for Daniel Ricciardo

So, Ricciardo is tasked with doing a better job than De Vries at helping AlphaTauri save face in F1 2023, ahead of a rebrand for next season.

Their current tally of two points, scored by Yuki Tsunoda, leaves them bottom of the Constructors’ standings, and so it is clear that Ricciardo will have done his job well if he can ensure that this number creeps up across the rest of the season.

Alarm bells will soon perhaps be ringing though for The Honey Badger, considering that the rear-end troubles for McLaren, which contributed to his demise there, seemingly are also present in the AlphaTauri AT04 challenger.

“The late entry, let’s say rear instability, which was the bigger weakness, that’s the area we’ve been working on,” FoxSports quotes AlphaTauri’s head of trackside engineering Jonathan Eddolls as having said.

“We have improved it, but it’s still a weakness, I would say.

Read more – The AlphaTauri ‘weakness’ that could trip up Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull quest

“Helmut ‘Mr. Motivator’ Marko” told to see how Williams do things

Ricciardo will be hoping that this risky decision to join AlphaTauri does not end up with him dumped by Red Bull too, something which would see his hopes of a return to the Red Bull line-up as a perfect final F1 chapter dashed.

Working in his favour will be the fact that he is now a highly-experienced and successful F1 driver, this wealth of knowledge something which De Vries did not have access to when trying to save his F1 career.

That being said, Sky F1’s pit lane reporter Ted Kravitz feels Helmut Marko, the boss of Red Bull’s driver programme, could look at how Williams are nurturing their rookie Logan Sargeant for some inspiration.

“And at least Williams are giving him that motivation and security, which is more than you can say, for Helmut ‘Mr. Motivator’ Marko and what he wanted Nyck de Vries to do, the other guy who hasn’t scored any points,” said Kravitz on the Sky F1 podcast.

Read more – Williams showing ‘Helmut ‘Mr. Motivator’ Marko’ how to handle rookie drivers