Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Red Bull's 2026 F1 engine "will be competitive" despite taking risks

Red Bull's Helmut Marko is confident the team "will be competitive" with its in-house Formula 1 engines for 2026, despite taking "a certain risk" at its rapidly progressing Red Bull Powertrains division.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, 1st position, drives on to the podium

In the wake of Honda's decision to pull out of F1 in an official capacity at the end of 2021, Red Bull decided to bring engine development in-house at a new division on its Milton Keynes campus.

That is where the team's engines for 2026 are being developed and built, when F1 will move to new power unit regulations that do away with the expensive and complicated MGU-H and place a bigger emphasis on energy harvested by the kinetic recovery system.

The team has gone on a large recruiting spree to get its engine division up and running and struck a strategic partnership deal with Ford that will see the American manufacturer pitch in with battery technology and embedded staff.

Despite admitting Red Bull has taken a "certain risk" by building its own engines rather than leaning on an existing manufacturer, Marko doesn't think the team will be at a disadvantage.

"We are aware that this engine commitment also involves a certain risk, but that's why we deliberately relied on a lot of experienced people," Marko said in an interview on the YouTube channel of Autosport's sister publication Formel1.de.

"The current figures from the combustion engine also make us feel positive, so I believe that we will at least not be at a disadvantage here and that we will also be reliable.

"And with Ford, we now have a partner in the battery sector. At the moment, all car manufacturers are very, very big in battery development. 

"You also have [Ford's] expertise in the turbo sector that is a very important addition for us. And with this know-how addition, we believe we will be competitive."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

When asked about how Red Bull Powertrains is progressing, Marko explained that Red Bull is currently on schedule, with engines already being built and the ERS division due to be completed within two months.

"Six test benches have been running in the main building since the middle of last year," he said. "More than one engine has already been completed. The improvements are clearly there and it's just the way you develop an engine.

"An extension for the ERS activities is under construction, that should be completed in one to two months, so we are right on schedule."

Read Also:

Marko added that Red Bull is still hiring additional staff for its engine division, with Audi's arrival as Sauber's future engine partner making the market even more competitive.

He also admitted the team has also spoken to former Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell, who decided against joining.

"The recruitment of personnel is also going well. We don't have the optimum level of personnel yet, but we are not far from it," he said. "Of course, a new competitor has appeared [Audi], and this has further increased the poaching activity.

"Andy Cowell is an Englishman based not far from Milton Keynes. Of course he was spoken to, but he has developed his interests in a different direction."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Jordan opens up on bizarre Faldo deal for Schumacher's first F1 test
Next article FIA revises F1 penalty points approach for 2023

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe