Horner: Engine decision could be made by end of November

Red Bull-Honda

Red Bull intends to have its engine for 2022 lined-up by the end of November, says team principal Christian Horner.

Set to part ways with Honda at the end of the 2021 Formula 1 season, Red Bull are in the process of weighing-up whether to move to another supplier or taking over the intellectual property of their current engine.

“I think our preferred option would be to continue with the power unit that is in the car next year, obviously rebadged as something else,” Horner told the official F1 website.

“If we can make an agreement with Honda regarding the use of the IP and product moving forward – it would be a great shame to see those engines just in a warehouse somewhere in Japan – so subject to what the regulations are, the preferred route would be to find an agreement to continue with those power units.”

Complicating matters is the cost of developing of those engines given F1 is unlikely to adopt a new engine formula before 2026. Red Bull have made it clear previously they would prefer the sport adopts a complete development freeze from 2022 onward, which so far has only been supported by Mercedes, with fellow engine suppliers Renault and Ferrari hesitant to agree.

Nevertheless, Horner suggests progress is being made with talks between Red Bull, F1, and the sport’s owners Liberty Media ongoing.

“I think we’ve been having quite productive discussions behind the scenes with the Commercial Rights Holder and the governing body,” he said. “Obviously there’s some key elements that need to be in place, before making any commitment on future engine plans, regarding engine freezes and so on.”

As to the question of when Red Bull would know where its future power units are coming from, Horner revealed the end of November has been set as a soft deadline, pending the approval of chief technical officer Adrian Newey.

“Adrian is always the last of the late brakers on those kinds of things so he’ll hold out for what the best option is, but of course there are some practical things that need to be decided,” he said.

“Engine stuff is such long lead time and if we were to take on a project like that then there’s quite a lot of work behind the scenes that would obviously need to happen and be put in place. Really by the end of this month we need to be firming up on a position.”