Red Bull: F1's new engine must 'entertain' or we may as well do FE

Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Formula 1’s new 2025 engine needs to be loud and "entertaining" for fans, otherwise teams may as well go and do Formula E.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

In the wake of discussions between major manufacturers at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, an outline concept for a future hybrid – featuring more electric power and running on fully sustainable fuel – is being worked on.

Red Bull, which is taking over the Honda engine project next year and will build its own power unit for the new rules era, was part of those discussions in Austria.

Horner thinks that F1 has a golden opportunity to do a much better job with these engine rules than it managed with the current turbo hybrids, which have proved to be expensive, complicated and criticised for being too quiet.

But he thinks it essential that the noise factor is made a key consideration, as spectators need to get some back of the emotion they had from the years of screaming V10 and V8 engines.

“We see that costs of the current engine are extremely prohibitive,” explained Horner.

“It was not thought of when this engine was conceived, and I think there's a fantastic opportunity for what could arguably be the engine for 10 years, when it's introduced, to do something a little bit different.

“I think it has to address the emotion, the sounds, and yes, of course, it has to tick the sustainable boxes.

“But, I think it still needs to be entertaining - otherwise, we should all go and do Formula E.

“Hopefully, the collective minds can come up with something attractive for 2025, or what would be more sensible is do the job properly for 2026.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Ways to increase the noise from the future power units could include removing the MGU-H system, or increasing the maximum revs and fuel flow so the engines are pushed harder.

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With all the current F1 manufacturers, plus outside parties Audi and Porsche, involved in discussions about framing future rules, Horner thinks it vital that as much good input is made to create the best design idea.

“I think it was a constructive dialogue,” said Horner about about the meeting.

“It's important we find the right solution, both in cost and product, for the future of F1.

"So I think all the right stakeholders are involved in that discussion, and it's important to work collectively for the benefit of the sport.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, who helped chair the meeting in Austria, felt that the meeting was a ‘good step’ in coming up with what was needed for 2025 and beyond.

He confirmed the turbo hybrid idea will definitely be staying.

“Hybrid will be there, of course,” he said. 

“The focus on the future will be more on the hybridisation of our engine. The fundamentals of all this engine will stay.”

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