With Honda retiring from Formula One at the end of the year, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has to elaborate a fully working engine department in the record time of one year.
Earlier this year, with Honda leaving them, Red Bull threatened the FIA with leaving Formula One if the engine development was not frozen at the beginning of the 2022 season. The Austrian team won this battle but they know they cannot rest on their laurels if they want to remain competitive as soon as engine development will be unfrozen.
This is why Horner is currently putting all the possible means into the development and the formation of engineers, to be able to recover and improve everything they can from their current Honda power unit.
Nonetheless, Horner is a perfectionist and wants to make his new engine department as efficient as possible. This is why Red Bull decided to build their new facilities at Milton Keynes, next to their chassis facilities. This should allow them to be highly efficient in terms of logistics to incorporate their power units into their single-seaters.
Logistics already caused problems for Haas at the beginning of the 2021 season. The American team was not able to receive Ferrari’s engineers at their factory, due to covid restrictions, and were, therefore, not able to incorporate their power unit into the VF21, delaying the assembly of their single-seater.
“Obviously with the engine freeze, it was important [to prepare ourselves to build engines,] as a safeguard for what will effectively be an interim period. But for the new engine, whenever that comes, potentially 2025, we’re obviously building up a structure,” Horner said to Motorsport.com.
“At the end of the day, F1 is still a team sport. It’s a people sport. And that’s one of the fundamental reasons that we’re housing our facility on-site within the campus in Milton Keynes. It’s to make sure that there is this seamless integration between power unit and chassis.”
Red Bull has one of the best chassis amongst the Formula One grid, but they always struggled to find the right balance between their chassis and power unit. With Honda, things seemed to improve. However, the Japanese manufacturer decided to retire from Formula One, potentially representing a return to square one for the Austrian team.
Nonetheless, Horner remains confident for the next chapter of Red Bull racing’s history, as the Briton thinks that building their own power unit will help Red Bull to bring their competitivity to the next level. To do so, just like he did when he started building chassis, Horner wants to recruit the best possible talents for his project.
“We will be applying exactly the same philosophy that we did to the chassis side.”
“So the intention, exactly as I did with the chassis, is to make sure we attract the right talent and the best talent.”
“We’re going to inherit some great people and talent from Honda, but we are absolutely committed to getting the right people in the right roles in an efficient manner that integrates fully with the chassis side of the business.”