Current F1 engine manufacturers are already considering the next power unit regulations for 2026. A ‘new’ manufacturer will then appear: Red Bull Powertrains.
Milton Keynes has just announced the breakdown of negotiations with Porsche, for an association on the engine plan. Does this weaken the Red Bull Powertrains project in terms of performance targeted in 2026?
Not at all according to Pierre Waché, the technical director of Red Bull, who repeats that Milton Keynes does not need anyone, not even Porsche.
“The plan for 2026 was already in place… even before the discussion Red Bull had with Porsche. We clearly developed a new company to manufacture the engine and to create a project to develop the 2026 car and engine after the discussion with Porsche took place. »
“It’s over now, this discussion, I was not part of the negotiations, it was at the level above. I’m sorry, I can’t really answer that question. It’s like that. We are moving forward, and we are trying to do our best. »
However, Waché does not hide it: the challenge of 2026 is immense for Red Bull Powertrains.
“It’s a huge challenge, clearly. From what I see. It’s clearly outside my realm, to be honest with you, and my focus at the moment is more on the current league, but it’s clearly a massive challenge, even more so when you’re starting from scratch like they [Red Bull Powertrains] do. You put everything in place, you see the building they built, the number of test beds. The number of people they have now. It’s a huge challenge. »
“In this field, the learning curve is very steep. Then they have to try to catch up with those who have more experience, and try to beat them. It’s a huge challenge and they’re going to get there, from what I see from the desire and the motivation, the quality of the people we have in our team. I think it’s looking good. »
Shovlin on the challenge of being a new engine builder
Mercedes is well established and will of course not have to build an engine factory from almost nothing, unlike what is happening in Milton Keynes.
Audi, Porsche, Red Bull Powertrains… how difficult is it for new entrants to catch up with current engine manufacturers?
Will Andrew Shovlin, chief race engineer at Mercedes, have ominous words for Red Bull and Milton Keynes?
“The structures you are talking about, with Audi or Red Bull Powertrains, know what this challenge entails. So we still expect them to come in with a good understanding of this, have the proper resources, and know how difficult this is going to be. »
“From our point of view, this year you have Ferrari with the V6 which is maybe the most powerful, maybe not the most reliable. But you know, the benchmark will be very, very high. Whether set by a newcomer to F1, or by one of the existing teams, we expect this benchmark in terms of engine performance to be very high. And we’ll work as hard as it takes to try to make sure we’re up there. »