Helmut Marko admits massive Red Bull risk

Red Bull are going to be supplying their own powertrains from 2026, with their partnership with Honda set to end in 2025.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has admitted that the Milton Keynes-based team are very much “aware” of how risky developing their own powertrains in 2026 will be, given that for the first time in their history they aren’t relying on a manufacturer’s expertise.

Since joining Formula 1 in 2005, Red Bull have had several power unit suppliers, most recently Honda and Renault.

2026, though, will see Red Bull explore a new path, by designing their very own.

To ensure they are as best prepared as possible, the Austrians have opened their own powertrain department at Milton Keynes, meaning that they have every department on the same campus.

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Ferrari are the only other team who can boast this feat, with the benefit of having a chassis and power unit department on the same campus being that they can work closer together.

Red Bull will be getting some help from Ford, though, after the team announced that the American manufacturer would be joining as a technical partner.

Red Bull Ford will supply engines to both the factory team and sister side AlphaTauri, with their relationship with Honda to end in 2025.

It’s certainly a big change for Red Bull given how reliant they’ve been on their previous engine partners; however, Marko is confident that everything will work smoothly based on “current feedback”.

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“We are aware of that, but that is why we rely on many experienced people and assume that this will be fine,” Marko told Formel 1.

“The current feedback on the internal combustion engine makes us feel good and I don’t expect us to be at a disadvantage. The reliability will also be good.

“In addition, with Ford we have a partner who, when it comes to the electric part of the engine, is very large and if they do not have something in-house, they do look together with young companies or startups. In terms of batteries, we can certainly use some know-how: this is a very important addition for us and with this we think we will be competitive.”

Marko also discussed Ford’s current presence back in Milton Keynes, with the American manufacturer already getting to work.

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“They are on campus with us and there are already six test benches that have been running since last year,” Marko revealed.

“More than one engine is already ready and the improvement is clearly visible. That’s how you should develop an engine,” says the Red Bull advisor, who hopes that other components such as the ERS [Energy Recovery System] will also be ready for use in the short term.

“We are exactly on schedule and the recruitment of staff is going well. We are not yet at our optimal staff level, but that does not make much difference. Of course, a new competitor has also emerged [Audi], which has only made us hungrier to win.”