The most recent war of words across the F1 paddock between Toto Wolff and Christian Horner was over the proposed new F§ power units due to arrive in the sport in 2026. Red Bull claim the mix of power at 50%-50% between the electrical and combustion engine is going rot cause problems.
Horner called for a 5-10% shift to reduce the massive electrical store required and further revealed their simulations demonstrated at circuits with long straights like Monazo, the drivers would need to shift down a gear to charge the battery.
Red Bull identify new PU issues
The Red Bull boss suggested without some tweaks the new 2026 F1 cars may become “Frankenstein’s monster.”
Toto Wolff rubbished Horner’s concern: “That is an exciting project to aim for,” he said.
“I think what frightens him [Horner] more maybe is that his engine programme is not coming along and maybe he wants to kill it that way.”
When asked about whether the upcoming F1 commission would agree the changes suggested, “That’s not going to happen. Zero chance. Capital letters,” said Wolff.
Mercedes and Ferrari black changes
“So I don’t know why these things are coming up. We’ve developed those regulations over many years, with all the auto manufacturers being involved.”
At the F1 commission meeting Red Bull cild find no allies for their proposals to the FIA and Dr. Helmut Marko jokingly claimed:
“Vasseur is continuing his love affair with Toto. Therefore there is little resonance at Ferrari,” mocked Marko.
“At Renault, they don’t know what they’re doing,” Marko cuttingly remarked of Red Bull’s old engine partner.
Red Bull engine ‘specialists’ from other teams
Yet despite Toto Wolff’s accusations that Red Bull Powertrains are behind the curve, Dr. Helmut Marko claims that in fact they are “miles ahead” of Ferrari and Audi in particular.
Red Bull have been accumulating power unit specialists from a number of teams over the past 2-3 years and of course back channels exist between them and their previous colleagues.
Helmut Marko’s Assessment of where the new power unit manufacturer’s are at is quite specific.
“I don’t think we are technically behind. We have brought in people from Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Cosworth [for the engine department],” Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.
Red Bull 2026 PU “miles ahead”
“We have Ford as a partner in the sector. We have absolute top people on the combustion engine. And we have two very bright minds on the electric side.
“In August, we are running a complete combustion engine with MGU-K and battery. There we are miles ahead of Audi, we are miles ahead of Ferrari, and Mercedes is about the same.”
Audi are due to complete their purchase of Swiss based Sauber team for next year with a view to launching the full Audi F1 competitor in 2026. The German based team announced their full prototype PU by the end of 2023, so Red Bull have a 5 months lead over the F1 newbies.
Audi recently sacked their F1 chief Markus Duesman because of a lack of progress on their new F1 power unit.
Audi sack F1 chief
Sauber’s acting team principal Alumni Bravi attempted to brave it out when asked whether this was a problem for the team.
“So there is no change for us, nor for Audi. Audi project is based not on a single individual but is a project for all the company that has been, I would say, welcome at any level. And I think that there is no change.”
“So we just need to be focused on our job and nothing change with the departure of Mr Duesmann.”
As to Horner’s concerns over whether F1 is creating a “Frankenstein’s monster” Marko stressed Red Bull’s main concern is in creating “really good sport” and so do not want to see this new era get off to a stuttering start.
FIA may get ‘egg on their face’
“We are just passionate racers, and we care,” said Marko.
“We are not in Formula 1 to get rich. We want there to be really good sport again. And that’s where we have concerns.”
The FIA’s plans to increase the current electric power output of the cars by a factor of three are indeed ambitious. However, should the Red Bull simulations turn out to be true, then the sport’s governing body will end up with egg on its collective face.
— Channel 4 Sport (@C4Sport) August 12, 2023