Red Bull Racing’s negotiations team have had a roller coaster 12 months. Added to the usual wrangling with the FIA, other teams and F1 management they’ve had three potential long term partnership deals to discuss.
First up were the protracted discussions with Porsche that dominated the first half of 2022. When the breakdown of talks was announced clearly Porsche wanted a deal similar to that of Audi/Sauber, where they were invested in the team not merely a supplier of power units.
Red Bull were not up for sale.
New Honda deal on the cars
Next up was a revival in the prominence of Honda. The small HRC sticker on the back of the engine cover was replaced with Honda’s logo on the nosecone at the Japanese GP.
There was announced an ‘extension’ to the current arrangement which culminated in Honda replacing Red Bull Power Trains as the official power unit provider for 2023.
Behind the scenes talks had opened on the Red Bull – Honda partnership into the new era of power units since Honda had registered with the FIA as a manufacturer for 2026 and beyond.
Red Bull says Honda deal “too complicated”.
Christian Horner now reveals, ”We have a great relationship with Honda and we’ve enjoyed so much success with them,” and that it will cease at the end of 2025.
“Both the team and Honda will be doing everything possible to add to the success that we’ve already achieved to the conclusion of those agreements.
“We explored the relationship beyond 2025. But it just logistically became too complicated.”
Honda’s F1 withdrawal made Red Bull wary
Honda registering with the FIA for 2026 and beyond does not actually commit them at present to produce an engine under the new regulations.
It was probably Honda’s latest decision to withdraw from Formula One that sealed the fate of the now successful partnership. Honda have previous form of dipping in and out of the sport somewhat at whim and clearly Red Bull prefer the certainty of self reliance.
“We’ve had an incredible partnership with Honda,” Horner concludes.
Red Bull – Ford agreement – mostly blanks at present
“When they initially announced their withdrawal from Formula 1 in 2020, then it was with great sadness. That is what prompted the creation of Red Bull Powertrains to take control of our own future.
The Red Bull – Ford arrangement has the air of a hastily prepared agreement with the blanks yet to be filled in.
Those blanks may determine whether RBPT-Ford is awarded the coveted ‘new manufacturer’ status by the FIA and gains extra funding and testing time above that of Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.