While buying Honda’s IP will suffice in the short term, looking ahead to the new engine formula Red Bull is contemplating building its own power unit.
Currently, all that stands in the way of Red Bull purchasing the IP to Honda’s F1 programme is Renault, the French manufacturer yet to join rivals Mercedes and Ferrari in agreeing to a freeze on engine development after 2021.
However, development freeze or no development freeze in 2025 or 2026 – yes, it is that much in the air – the sport is due to introduce a new engine formula that will effectively see less complicated units that will be cheaper and run on bio-fuels.
With the current units only fit for the scrapheap at that time, this could present a huge problem for Red Bull which has always been a customer team.
However, Helmut Marko admits that the move towards less complicated, cheaper units, which are being introduced to attract more manufacturers, could be the ideal time for Red Bull to take a hand in its own destiny rather than being reliant on its rivals.
“If the hints become true that the new engine is much simpler in design; that the MGU-H is eliminated, and that it remains innovative but the annual cost limit is somewhere around fifty-million, then it’s no longer such a complex issue as the current engine,” he told Autosport.
“That means you could then do the development for such an engine with the paraphernalia we will have in Milton Keynes.”
Asked if this means the Austrian company building its own engine, he replied: “Correct. Whether on its own or in cooperation, that’s a matter of negotiation, I would say.”