Helmut Marko to fly to Tokyo as Red Bull scramble to reignite Honda partnership

Red Bull's relationship with Honda, as it stands, is set to end ahead of the 2026 season

Red Bull adviser, Dr Helmut Marko, says that the team are still weighing up their options for 2026, but confirms that any relationship with Porsche is now dead in the water.

The Austrian team had initially purchased Honda’s intellectual property to construct their own powertrains when the Japanese motoring giant announced its intention to leave Formula 1 at the end of last year.

However, Red Bull were not quite ready to become a works team yet, so they agreed an extension that will see Honda continue to make their engines until the end of 2025.

Those engines are branded as Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT), and the plan was for the power units and gearboxes to be constructed exclusively in Milton Keynes from 2026.

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This is when the new technical regulations come into effect and, having acquired some of the best engineers and mechanics in the paddock over the last 18 months, Red Bull have been busy working on their own engines.

To achieve that goal, they built a new facility in Milton Keynes that will act as an auxiliary to their main base, and it is where their power units will be constructed.

It would work much the same as Mercedes’ two facilities in Brackley and Brixworth, with the German side using the latter to make their engines.

However, there was also a possibility that the four-time champions could outsource their engines again, this time to Porsche.

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The German company started filing paperwork to purchase shares on Red Bull Technologies though, which was a concern for the team, and the deal was called off.

At the moment, Red Bull are developing well to become a works team in 2026.

“No, that’s over too,” Dr Marko told Osterreich newspaper.

“The first engine we developed has already run on the test bench, so we’re doing very well for ourselves there too.”

There is every chance that the Milton Keynes-based side might also continue their deal with Honda in four years.

“That is being negotiated, I will be flying to Tokyo between the Singapore and Suzuka races in early October,” explained Dr Marko.

Red Bull’s owner and founder, Dietrich Mateschitz, was unable to oversee negotiations with Porsche, but Dr Marko confirmed that this had “nothing to do” with the deal falling through, before revealing his compatriot’s son, Mark was in Monza last weekend.

Max Verstappen won the Italian Grand Prix from seventh on the grid, spoiling Ferrari’s celebration of 75 years of grand prix racing, and giving himself a 116-point lead over Charles Leclerc in the championship.

As much as Dr Marko respects Ferrari, Red Bull cannot allow their rivals Fairy-tale victories if they are to succeed.

“Unfortunately, we cannot take the Ferrari anniversary into account if we want to become world champions,” he said with a smile.

“The chances of Max winning for the first time in Monza are good, he doesn’t make mistakes and with our bigger wing we slide less than the others. We were the best in race trim.”

Verstappen could wrap up the title in Singapore in three weeks’ time, and if he does not, he is almost guaranteed to do so in Japan.

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“In terms of the party environment, Singapore wouldn’t be bad at all,” joked Dr Marko. 

“But in terms of our engine partner Honda, Suzuka would be even better a week later.”

Red Bull now lead Ferrari by 139 points in the Constructors’ Standings after Leclerc finished second ahead of fourth-placed Carlos Sainz, while Sergio Perez recovered from 13th to sixth.