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Marko: Honda need a top team in 2026, not much left

Marko: Honda need a top team in 2026, not much left

Marko: Honda need a top team in 2026, not much left
Honda registered as a Formula 1 power unit supplier for 2026, but Red Bull’s Helmut Marko insists they would need to work with a top team, but their options are limited.

Honda announced they would leave F1 at the end of the 2021 season based on a new strategic direction within the company, but they actually never left as they kept on supplying power units and consultancy to Red Bull in 2022 who at the same time starting Red Bull Powertrains.

The two parties have even tightened up the relations recently, with the Milton Keynes outfit re-branding their power units Honda RBPT for 2023, as it was revealed that Honda have registered as a separate power unit supplier for 2026, the year when the next generation power units will be launched.

In an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, Red Bull consultant Dr. Helmut Marko was asked about what the future holds for the Red Bull/Honda relations, especially after 2026.

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“It’s a tense situation that has a history,” Marko said. “When Honda announced its withdrawal two years ago, we would not have had anything in the first phase.

“Honda didn’t even want to supply the existing engine. We were able to gradually transform that into a cooperation as we see it today.

“At the same time, to safeguard our future, we set up our own engine factory, which is state-of-the-art with the latest test benches and measuring instruments from AVL in a newly built factory. In Sakura there is once again the same from Honda,” he added.

Not clear what 2026 holds for the partners

However thinks are still fluid for 2026; Marko revealed: “When it came to who would do what from 2026, things got difficult.

“It was thought that Honda would only do the electrical part, but we couldn’t come to a common denominator. But let’s see. A decision will be made soon.”

Marko did not close the door on Red Bull seeking a new power unit partner, saying : “Let’s wait and see,” when asked about it.

Quizzed if Red Bull would consider selling AlphaTauri to Honda should the Japanese carmaker go shopping for a team in 2026, Marko said: “When Honda comes back they need a top team. That can’t be AlphaTauri, especially not if there were no longer any synergies with us if we weren’t coupled with another engine.

“When I ask around, every engine manufacturer, from Audi to Renault, wants a second team. There’s not much left for Honda,” the 79-year-old pointed out.

Marko insists it is important for every power unit to have more than one team running their mills, justifying: “Not just because of the economy.

“Two teams means double information. This is also an important factor in terms of development and reliability. Problems are solved faster with two teams,” the former racer concluded.