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Red Bull being as "ballsy" with F1 engine as it is with title-winning cars

Red Bull says it is adopting the same "ballsy" approach to its new Formula 1 engine as it has done to title-winning cars throughout its history.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

The Milton Keynes-based team will produce its own power unit for the first time in 2026, when its new Red Bull Powertrains division ties up with Ford.

Although Red Bull is under no illusions about the challenge that lies ahead as it takes on the might of manufacturers like Mercedes, Ferrari and Audi, it equally feels that it can be competitive based on the efforts undertaken to become a class leader.

Reflecting on how things were stacking up with less than two years to go, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "We're on a steep learning curve where we've got 70 years of disadvantage to Ferrari, but we've got a great group of people.

"We're applying the same philosophy as we have on the chassis to the engine. But it's a different challenge with the engine. So, there's no guarantees."

Horner said that trying to work out where Red Bull stacked up against rivals was unclear right now, but he felt there were elements that were in its favour and some that worked against it.

"There's no knowledge of where anybody else is with these new regulations," he explained.

"It's a clean sheet of paper and we don't have the benefit of an existing engine to learn from. So, from a cost-cap perspective, that's a disadvantage.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"But then at the same time, we don't have a distraction of the current engine and the reliability fixes and so on, that are having to be dealt with there.

"I guess we're only really going to see in 2026. But we're meeting our targets at this point in time.

"And with just under two years to run, if I look at the progress we've made in the last two years from almost a standing start, it's been very impressive."

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With F1 heading into an all-new rules era from 2026, where both chassis and engine regulations are changing at the same time, there is a high chance that the competitive order will be shaken up.

But Horner has no fears about Red Bull being any worse off than competitors despite having to focus on both car and engine.

"If I was going to back any team to get the chassis right, I think we've got a reasonable track record," he added.

"We've taken on a new project with the engine, but we've got some exceptional people and we've got an incredible facility.

"For sure. It's very bold what we've done and it's very brave and it's pretty ballsy, but Red Bull wouldn't have won 117 races and done what we've done without making bold decisions. And we believe that it will pay off."

Watch: Adrian Newey Set to Leave Red Bull

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