Red Bull considering options and Honda’s engine program

Honda’s exit from F1 leaves Red Bull in a tough position and there has been a lot of speculation about what the team will do next for an engine supply. Renault seem the likeliest of choices despite the sour relationship they had in the past with Red Bull but some advocate taking over Honda’s engine program and Helmut Marko agrees.

“We would favour, provided the talks with Honda are positive, that we take over the IP rights and everything that is necessary, to then prepare and deploy the engines ourselves in Milton Keynes.

“But this is only possible on condition that the engines are frozen by the first race in 2022 at the latest. We cannot afford further development, neither technically nor financially. That is a prerequisite.”

The thought of Red Bull taking over Honda’s hybrid power unit program and acquiring their intellectual property for the engine seemed a bridge too far initially because they would have to commit the resources to develop it over the next few years.

Marko calls that out and suggests the only way they would be willing to acquire Honda’s program is if the FIA froze the engine regulations in 2022 meaning they would not have to continue engine development, just manufacture the existing design.

In the end, I still think teaming with Renault is the option that could occur given the need to continue engine development but Marko has a point about manufacturers and the engines they develop.

“All engine manufacturers have their own team and that means they develop the engine around their chassis,” he said.

“We would get something where we would have to adapt our chassis and our ideas secondary, and we would be confronted with a technical solution that we would have to accept.

“That’s why the Honda solution is [our favourite]. Nevertheless, we are exploring all possibilities.

“According to the FIA regulations, every engine manufacturer has committed itself to supplying other teams. If something like this is to be a possibility for us, then it must fit the overall situation, and it must make us competitive.

“A happy forced marriage is not an issue for us.”

The door is open for a reunion with Renault and I still argue that Renault could use Red Bull just as much as Red Bull could use Renault. The French manufacturer only has two cars running their engines and having four more would be a huge boost to their program and development.

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