Red Bull will use Honda’s intellectual property to maintain their own power unit programme from 2022 onwards, following the news of an engine freeze. Red Bull will no longer have to worry about finding a new engine partner, or rekindling a relationship with an old one, as they have signed a deal to use Honda’s existing power units until the start of the new engine regulation cycle.
Last week, the Formula 1 Commission voted in favour of the introduction of an engine freeze. Simply put, the power unit manufacturers will be required to stop development of their engines at a certain date of homologation before the 2022 season starts. This freeze will remain in place until the beginning of the new engine regulation cycle in 2025.
As a result, with no performance development required, Red Bull have agreed a deal with Honda to puchase the Japanese manufacturer’s technology. Following the announcement from Honda that they intended to quit F1 at the end of 2021, they signalled they were open to such a deal with Red Bull provided that circumstances would allow. The engine freeze means that it now makes sense for both parties.
Red Bull have set up an internal powertrain company that will take on Honda’s power unit technology. Red Bull Powertrains Ltd. will be housed and operated from the team’s F1 base in Milton Keynes. This powertrain company will enable Red Bull to continue to use Honda engines, which will presumably be rebadged with a sponsor. The deal also extends to Alpha Tauri, meaning both Red Bull teams will continue to use Honda power.
“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’s Dr. Helmut Marko. “We are grateful for Honda’s collaboration in this regard and for helping to ensure that both Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri continue to have competitive power units.”
“The establishment of Red Bull Powertrains Limited is a bold move 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.”
“This agreement represents a significant step for us in our Formula One journey.” said Red Bull’s Christian Horner. “We were understandably disappointed when Honda made the decision to leave the sport as an engine manufacturer, as our relationship yielded immediate success, but we are grateful for their support in facilitating this new agreement.”
“Honda has invested significantly in hybrid technology to ensure the supply of competitive power units to both teams. We now begin the work of bringing the power unit division in-house and integrating the new facilities and personnel into our Technology Campus. In the meantime, we are fully focused on achieving the best possible results in what will be Honda’s final season as an official power unit supplier.”