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Red Bull: New Honda F1 deal was "too complicated" despite talks

Red Bull did explore a potential Formula 1 engine partnership with Honda when its talks with Porsche broke down last year, but says a deal ultimately proved too complicated.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, in the pit lane

The Milton Keynes-based squad had originally looked set to tie up with German car manufacturer Porsche from 2026, with negotiations reaching such an advanced state last year that anti-cartel authorities were notified.

However, amid concerns from Red Bull that Porsche's requested buy-in of the team could lead to it losing its independence, the discussions collapsed last summer.

Since then, Red Bull has concluded a partnership with Ford to help develop Red Bull's own engine out of its new facility in Milton Keynes.

But, with Honda having registered with the FIA its interest in developing a power unit for new rules in 2026, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that his squad did explore potentially continuing with the Japanese car manufacturer.

"We have a great relationship with Honda and we've enjoyed so much success with them," explained Horner. "And that relationship runs to the end of 2025.

"Both the team and Honda will be doing everything possible to add to the success that we've already achieved to the conclusion of those agreements.

"We explored the relationship beyond 2025. But it just logistically became too complicated."

Horner explained that while Honda had notified the FIA of its intention to be a part of the new 2026 rules, that did not necessarily guarantee that it would be producing an engine for the new regulations.

"Of course manufacturers that are registered on that entry today, it doesn't mean a commitment that they're actually going to be there in 2026," he said.

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

"We will of course wish Honda the very best of luck in the future. But there is obviously a clear difference between the 2026 program that Red Bull Powertrains is focused on and this relationship with Ford, and the close working relationship with Honda to obviously optimise the best performance we can out of the current homologated engine to the end of 2025."

Horner said that the way things had mapped out with Honda, which resulted in it helping supply Red Bull's engines to 2025, was a welcome move in helping secure his team's long-term ambitions while it gets Red Bull Powertrains up and running.

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"We've had an incredible partnership with Honda," he said. "When they initially announced their withdrawal from Formula 1 in 2020, then it was with great sadness. That is what prompted the creation of Red Bull Powertrains to take control of our own future.

"As we set off on that journey, obviously there was a change of plan with Honda thankfully agreeing to continue to supply engines until the end of 2025 while, in turn, we were building up our resource for 2026.

"That contract we have until the end of 2025. We have a great working relationship there. They are an incredible company and, under the current regulations, we will be pushing with Honda all the way to the last race of the 2025 season."

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