The engine-supplier dilemma Red Bull Racing is currently facing is bound to be resolved by the end of November, according to team principal Christian Horner. The preference of the Milton Keynes-based outfit would lie on taking over the intellectual property of Honda.
Following the Japanese manufacturer’s unforeseen decision to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2021, Red Bull reached the point of no return and found itself in the position to look for an alternative. Renault, having the fewest customers, would have to abide to the rules and supply both Red Bull and AlphaTauri, if they fail to reach an agreement for 2021.
However, Red Bull still hopes to rely on the resources it is endowed with. As Horner stressed, his preferred option would be crossing out Renault and rebadging the Honda engine that will be used in 2021.
“I think our preferred option would be to continue with the power unit that is in the car next year, obviously rebadged as something else”
“If we can make an agreement with Honda regarding the use of the IP and product moving forward it would be a great shame to see those engines just in a warehouse somewhere in Japan, so subject to what the regulations are, it would be the preferred route would be to find an agreement to continue with those power units.”
In this regard, it is not surprising that Red Bull will push for an engine development freeze as Mercedes, whereas Ferrari and Renault are said to be against.
“I think we’ve been having quite productive discussions behind the scenes with the Commercial Rights Holder and the governing body. Obviously there’s some key elements that need to be in place, before making any commitment on future engine plans, regarding engine freezes and so on.”
A mild internal dispute might divide Red Bull, as Adrian Newey is supposedly pushing for the team to make the right call before setting such a tight deadline. On the contrary, Horner aims to sort the engine supplier matter as soon as possible, in order to get a headstart on the 2022 project from January 1st onwards.
“Engine stuff is such long lead time and if we were to take on a project like that then there’s quite a lot of work behind the scenes that would obviously need to happen and be put in place. Really by the end of this month we need to be firming up on a position.”