Red Bull: People ‘don’t comprehend’ scale of 2026 engine challenge

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Red Bull is moving full steam ahead on its 2026 in-house power unit, a project the scale of which is underestimated by most people insists Christian Horner.

Red Bull and sister team AlphaTauri currently use legacy power units supplied by Honda, but that arrangement will end upon the conclusion of the 2025 F1 season and ahead of the sport’s next regulation overhaul that will include a new power unit specification.

Subsequently, both Red Bull teams will be powered by units developed by Red Bull Powertrains (RBPT) which will receive input from Ford, assisting with battery and hybrid technology among other technical aspects.

Development work is ongoing at RBPT whose activities are housed within a dedicated building located on Red Bull’s Milton Keynes campus.

It’s a massive undertaking for RBPT that isn’t without a significant amount of risk, and which could derail Red Bull from its championship winning trajectory.

Asked in Brazil if he was beginning to lose sleep over RBPT’s prospects, Horner admitted that a dose of apprehension was setting in.

“Yeah, but that's life, isn't it? Nothing lasts forever. You just got to keep evolving,” he said, quoted by

Red Bull opted to build its own engine following Honda’s decision to retreat from Formula 1 to allocate more of its resources to the manufacturer’s electrification plans amid the automotive industry’s paradigm shift.


Since, Honda has had a change of heart and will remain in F1 as a supplier to Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin outfit.
Funding for RBPT has been provided by parent company Red Bull GmbH in Austria, and without the latter’s support the project would have never seen the light of day.

But beyond the heavy investment, Horner believes that few really comprehend the sheer magnitude of the challenge endorsed by Red Bull.

“At the moment we don't want this season to stop,” he said. “But 2026, it's the next chapter for us, and it's taking control of the one bit of variable that we've had.

“I don't think people perhaps comprehend the scale of the challenge that we've taken on for 2026. But the way the team is attacking it is exactly the same way that we have with the chassis.

“We've got two years which seems like a long way away, but we've pretty much got 100 weeks now to when we're rolling down the pitlane with a Red Bull-designed and manufactured engine in the back of the car. So that's nerve wracking and exciting all at once.

“But we're on a good trajectory. We have got some great people involved, and we have got a great culture. We're looking forward, and I'm looking forward, to it.”

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