A takeover of Honda’s abandoned Formula 1 engine project is the preferred option being considered by Red Bull for post-2021.

Honda’s decision to quit F1 at the end of 2021 has left Red Bull and its sister squad AlphaTauri searching for a new power unit solution from 2022 and beyond.

Mercedes has already ruled out supplying engines to Red Bull, while Ferrari has stressed it has not considered a customer supply deal. Under F1’s sporting regulations, Renault would be forced to supply Red Bull if an alternative is not found in time for 2022.

Another option for Red Bull would be a continuation project whereby the team would takeover Honda’s engine technology at its current UK facility near Milton Keynes and run the power units itself.

But Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said such a move would only be possible if the FIA agreed to a freeze on engine development from the start of 2022.

"It's a very complex subject - just as complex as these engines are,” Marko told German channel Sport1.

"We would favour, provided the talks with Honda are positive, that we take over the IP rights and everything that is necessary, to then prepare and deploy the engines ourselves in Milton Keynes.

"But this is only possible on condition that the engines are frozen by the first race in 2022 at the latest. We cannot afford further development, neither technically nor financially. That is a prerequisite.”

Team principal Christian Horner said at the Eifel Grand Prix that Red Bull was considering “all options” but did not directly rule out the possibility of a continuation project with independent support, indicating that a customer deal does not align with Red Bull’s aspirations.

Honda will develop a brand new engine for 2021 and has insisted that it would help Red Bull in any transition period as discussions between the two parties over a succession plan begin.

Marko explained that any customer supply deal would result in Red Bull having to comprise its car design.

"All engine manufacturers have their own team and that means they develop the engine around their chassis,” Marko continued.

"We would get something where we would have to adapt our chassis and our ideas secondary, and we would be confronted with a technical solution that we would have to accept.

"That's why the Honda solution is [our favourite]. Nevertheless, we are exploring all possibilities.

"According to the FIA regulations, every engine manufacturer has committed itself to supplying other teams. If something like this is to be a possibility for us, then it must fit the overall situation, and it must make us competitive.

"A happy forced marriage is not an issue for us."

 

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