Red Bull creates powertrain division

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Red Bull has made a significant move in securing their power unit future until at least 2025 when the engine formula is set to change. With Honda leaving Formula 1, again, Red Bull has been left to secure the rights to continue to use their Honda’s power units and in doing so, they sought to secure an engine freeze in F1 until 2025.

The team met last week and agreed to freeze the engines with no further development and while that is good new for Re Bull, they decided to take things a step further. It was announced this wee that Red Bull would be creating a powertrain devision in order to manage the intellectual property of the Honda hybrid power unit and continue to supply both Red Bull and Alpha Tauri.

The interesting thing, and I one I wasn’t sure the energy drink maker would commit to, is a complete division for powertrain support and potential creation in 2025. Could Red Bull be moving into the role of engine maker? As a privateer in a three-horse race, it is a serious limitation to a team as well-funded as Red Bull so perhaps this is the first big move for Red Bull as a complete manufacturer instead of just a privateer.

It is a bold move, if that is their plan, and says a couple of things to me. One, that they are tired of having their destiny tied to an engine maker who can come and go when they please or produce sub-standard engines that Red Bull contractually are obligated to use.

The second thing it says is that Formula 1 is still a very strong platform for them because why would any team make this investment if it were marginal or otherwise?

“We have been discussing this topic with Honda for some time and following the FIA’s decision to freeze power unit development from 2022, we could at last reach an agreement regarding the continued use of Honda’s hybrid power units,” said Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.

If the team are to use this powertrain division for the next formula engine, it will be critical that F1 doesn’t overdo it and establish a formula that only a global car maker can afford to produce.

“The establishment of Red Bull Powertrains Limited is a bold move by Red Bull but it is one we have made after careful and detailed consideration.

“We are aware of the huge commitment required but we believe the creation of this new company is the most competitive option for both teams.”

A big move and one I am not only happy to see but one I hope produces a 2025 bespoke power unit for Red Bull that is competitive and allows them to become the master of their own destiny.

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