Red Bull has revealed that its future Formula 1 engines will take the moniker of the energy drinks company, as it ruled out selling on the naming rights.
The Milton Keynes-based team has agreed a deal to take on the Honda engine project for next year as part of a move that has led to the creation of Red Bull Powertrains.
While the team has in the past rebadged engines – most famously with TAG-Heuer taking the name of its Renault customer units from 2016-2018 – such a plan has been ruled out this time.
Speaking about the plans for the future name of the Honda engines, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: “It will be a Red Bull engine. So it will be, as Mercedes is a Mercedes, it will be an incorporated part of the car. So it will be a Red Bull.”
Asked if Red Bull was looking for a potential partner or manufacturer to help in its project: “I think we won’t be beholden on having a partner, so we’ve got the independence to do it ourselves.
“If an exciting partner comes along, then of course it would make sense to look at it very seriously, whether that be an OEM or another type of partner, a battery manufacturer or whatever. It really depends what the engines are.”
Horner explained that Red Bull had now begun a recruitment drive to ramp up its facilities at Milton Keynes as it looked to create the right structure around its plan.
“Obviously we will inherit the vast majority of HRD UK, which is the operational side of Honda, based in Milton Keynes,” he explained. “So that gives us a standing start, in that already all the people that we already know and interface with, we’ll look to take under the new company.
“Then we are in the process of setting out some of the other roles that will be filled in the next coming weeks and months. But I think the agreement that we’ve achieved with Honda just buys us time to assemble the right group of people.”
Although Red Bull is now on the look out for an individual to head up its engine division, Horner has ruled out early talk that it could swoop for former Mercedes chief Andy Cowell.
Asked whether he could be part of the project, Horner said: “What he’s achieved obviously in the recent 10 years of the sport has been mightily impressive. He was obviously a lynchpin of what Mercedes and HPP have delivered.
“I think that he’s obviously chosen to pursue I think other activities outside of Formula 1. But of course, as far as engines are concerned, he’s been the guy that has delivered year on year. But my understanding is that his interests currently lay outside of Formula 1.”
As an official engine manufacturer, Horner also confirmed that Red Bull would be obliged to provide customer engines to another outfit outside its current family if required by the regulations.
“By taking on the obligations of an engine manufacturer, you’re bound by those regulations of obligation to supply, so that would be no different to any other manufacturer.”