Upon Honda’s departure from Formula 1 after 2021, Red Bull Racing will take over the engine project, and continue it as Red Bull Powertrains. It seems like a good time to take that step, now that the Honda powerplant is performing better than ever. Christian Horner elaborates on the ambitious project.
The Red Bull team boss says the right structure of leadership is important to shape the rest of the organisation. A large proportion of the top jobs will be held by staff recruited from the Mercedes camp. According to Horner, the priority is to attract people with experience in developing Formula One engines. “That’s our best chance of hitting the ground running,” the 47-year-old Briton said in an interview with The Race.
He stresses that they don’t bring any of Mercedes’ intellectual property with them. “But they’ve produced the benchmark engine over the years, and that’s fantastic for us. When you’re starting from scratch with a clean sheet of paper you want to bring in as much talent as you can.”
From 2022 to 2025, there is a development freeze on F1 engines, meaning Red Bull has about three years after 2021 to build a competitive powerplant. “There is a very aggressive timeline to get that building fully commissioned and operational,” said Horner. “It’s gathering pace, we’re getting the right people, we’re using all the same philosophy as on the chassis side of bringing the right people in.”
“We’ve demonstrated that we can do it on the chassis side. People I don’t think took Red Bull seriously when they entered the sport as a chassis manufacturer. We were famously called just an energy drinks company by a certain driver'”, with Horner referring to a statement made by Lewis Hamilton.