Helmut Marko: ‘We have not yet reached the optimal number of employees’

Red Bull's and Honda's partnership will end at the conclusion of the 2025 F1 season.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has revealed that the Milton Keynes-based team’s “passion for victory” from 2026 onwards has increased, following the arrival of Audi.

The German manufacturer will join Formula 1 in 2026 as a power unit supplier, with the Germans having partnered with Sauber.

Red Bull are also becoming a power unit supplier from 2026 onwards when the new engine regulations are introduced, with the Austrians set to produce engines for themselves and sister side AlphaTauri.

Red Bull’s preparations for the new engine regs are supposedly going very well; however, Audi have also been making great progress.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Audi board member Oliver Hoffman revealed at the Auto Shanghai car show this week that their F1 project “has really taken off in recent months”, with incredible progress being made.

“In the ongoing concept phase of the power unit, the foundation of our drivetrain for 2026 is being laid today,” Hoffman said.

Of course, whilst Red Bull are developing their own engines for 2026 they won’t actually be working on their own, with the side having announced at the start of the year that they’d be entering a technical partnership with Ford.

Ford are believed to be focusing on the hybrid side of things rather than the engine itself, which is being left solely to Red Bull.

Article continues below

It does mean that Honda will need to go elsewhere if they wish to remain in the sport, something they seemingly want to do given that they’ve signed up for 2026 as a power unit supplier.

According to reports, Honda are potentially in discussions with Aston Martin about becoming their engine supplier, which would see the Silverstone-based team end their ties with Mercedes.

Given how successful Red Bull and Honda have been together, it’s certainly a “risk” for the Austrians to go their own way; however, Marko is “confident that everything will work out”.

“Independent development of power units is a risk,” Marko told formel1.de.

“But we are relying on experienced employees and are confident that everything will work out. The current information I have about the new engine is encouraging. I do not expect that we will be at a disadvantage.

“Reliability too. Everything should be in order. We have a serious partner who is well versed in the hybrid part of the power unit, and if they do not have something ready, they will look for a solution with young companies or startups.

READ: Lewis Hamilton announces new business venture amid Mercedes struggles

“We are confident we will be competitive with Ford. Ford engineers are working in the same building with us, where we launched six test benches last year.

“We have made one engine, we are assembling another – the progress is obvious. We are on schedule, including recruitment. We have not yet reached the optimal number of employees, but we will get there.

“And of course, the arrival of yet another competitor in Audi will only increase our passion for victory,” Marko said.