Red Bull Racing is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing teams. In this 2021 season, Max Verstappen is positioned as the greatest threat facing seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. It is clear that the objective of the Austrian team is to defeat Mercedes, which has had a fairly long hegemony - since 2014 they have won all the drivers' and constructors' championships - therefore, developing an aerodynamically efficient car is the first step, and they are very advanced. The second step is the power unit; remember that Red Bull is using engines supplied by Honda, but the Japanese brand have decided to leave the category at the end of this season. For its part, Red Bull will continue to use Honda engines, but they will be under their direction, not theirs. The Austrian team has announced that the construction of the division for its own engines (Red Bull Powertrains) has already started and will be at its facilities in Milton Keynes, giving an extra geographical advantage. Another point that we must emphasize is that some brands have shown interest in entering F1 as engine suppliers, some examples are Porsche and Volkswagen, however, Red Bull plans that, if any of these brands decides to enter the category, it will be in collaboration with Red Bull Powertrains.
As part of its new motorsport program, Red Bull is looking for the best available talent to help it become a recognized supplier. The Austrian team has hired Ben Hodgkinson, who was key in the development of the Mercedes-Benz High Performance Powertrains power units at its Brixworth, England factory. Ben worked for the Germans for a total of 20 years, so he has plenty of knowledge. In 2017, Ben served as Head of Mechanichal Engineering. According to Red Bull, a total of 100 people are initially required to work in Red Bull Powertrains, later, more people will be distributed in the departments of this division. Despite this, Hodgkinson will still not be able to work with Red Bull since Mercedes is in the legal process to extend the period of the Gardening Leave, which tries to prohibit any employment related to this person, this with the aim that the information Hodgkinson supplies Red Bull is minimal and out of date. Red Bull’s main advisor, Dr. Helmut Marko, has confirmed this Mercedes technique but believes it will be to no avail.
“Mercedes is now trying everything legally to delay his start of work. But it won’t take as long as Mercedes would like. The crucial thing is; we didn’t have to poach him at all; he applied on his own in response to our ad. And he’s not the only one who wants to join us. There are also other top-class players whose names I can’t mention yet. I only know one thing: If Niki Lauda was still alive, we wouldn’t have succeeded.” He affirmed in an interview with f1-insider.com.
The engine regulations for the 2025 season onwards have not been published nor determined and they are still under progress. Some parts have been rumoured, for example, a significant increase in electric horsepower (around 50%) or the switch to biofuel. This regulations are the basis of Red Bull’s project since they need those rules in order to start thinking about the design and the mechanical structure of the power unit.