Independent F1 engine 'crucial', says Red Bull Racing boss Horner

Christian Horner believes the power unit plight of Red Bull and Toro Rosso highlights the need for an independent engine manufacturer in Formula 1

Independent F1 engine 'crucial', says Red Bull Racing boss Horner

Red Bull and Toro Rosso are currently both without an engine supply for 2016 after opting to split with Renault a year ahead of schedule.

In Red Bull's case, after failing to land a deal with Mercedes or Ferrari, and with Honda "very keen" to supply but being blocked by McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis, Horner's options are severely limited.

The FIA's planned introduction of an independent engine for 2017 comes too late to save Red Bull for next year, but is welcomed by team principal Horner regardless.

GARY ANDERSON: F1's obvious budget engine solution

"It's crucial because we're demonstrating quite clearly there is no regulation that dictates that engine suppliers have to supply, let alone at a competitive price," said Horner.

"So an independent engine, for the future of Formula 1, for us it's a no-brainer.

"If you can't get engines elsewhere then you can't race, so it's important to have a competitive, economical engine, and if it can't be the current engine, then there needs to be another engine.

"Jean Todt [FIA president] has taken the situation very seriously, and he's said very clearly what his plans are."

The concern is while Todt and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will join forces at the next Strategy Group meeting to vote through the prospect of an independent engine, the plan will then fall at the next hurdle of the F1 Commission.

Horner feels if the other teams had any sense they will also vote in favour given the cost savings they are likely to make per year of around €12-14million.

"I'm sure if there's enough willingness, and there are enough teams struggling financially - if you can take 20 million out of your engine/chassis budget it's a no-brainer," added Horner.

Suggested to Horner the majority of the customer teams had supply contracts with the manufacturers beyond 2017, he replied: "Maybe they won't be here in 2017 if the current prices stay the same.

"That's a decision for those individual teams to make.

"But when they've been complaining about price and cost, the first thing that comes along that offers a significant reduction, I'd be amazed if teams didn't snap it up."

As far as Horner is concerned, any budget engine has to be competitive enough to compete alongside the current 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged hybrids.

"Jean has two problems: one is the cost of supply, and two is the willingness to supply," remarked Horner.

"Within the current regulations you can't force manufacturers to supply so there has to be an alternative, but that alternative also has to be competitive."

As to the prospects of Red Bull taking a year out and returning in 2017 if an independent engine was available, Horner said: "That would be enormously unlikely."

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