Formula 1

Red Bull considered designing own F1 engine in 2014 says Helmut Marko

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Remember the speculation that Red Bull were considering designing their own power unit? Well it has been confirmed for the first time by the company's motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

The quadruple world champions from 2010-2013 have only won three races since the introduction of V6 hybrid power units in 2014 and fell down the pecking order thanks to poor performance and reliability last season.

However, Marko admitted that the Anglo-Austrian team were considering starting their own power unit development as soon as it was clear current supplier Renault hadn't done as good a job as their rivals.


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"We looked at it but we very quickly found out it wasn't for Red Bull," he was quoted by Autosport. "[It was] when we had the first tests in 2014. We were looking at it, investigating it."

Marko revealed that possible suppliers were being looked at near Styria in Austria, where Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz is based, however, it was the cost of any potential project that put the team off.

"Some other companies were making turbos. They are all within one hour [of Styria]," he replied when asked if AVL, an Austrian company linked with a Red Bull engine project were being considered

"There is enough know-how. But the costs and complexity of the whole thing...

"We are not talking about an engine, we're talking about a power unit which is far more complicated and these engine regulations are wrong.

"It's too expensive, it's too engineering driven, it doesn't make the sound you need and the driver is more or less a passenger."

"The costs are enormous. We are talking about 250-300 people just to develop such an engine and we don't know how long the regulations will go."

It is most interesting that Red Bull were concerned about the long-term viability of such a project, especially when other alternatives were being considered. That would have certainly been the deciding factor because at the time the team would have had the extra budget to have created an engine despite Marko's claim.

For a long time there was also murmurings Red Bull would start a F1 partnership with Volkswagen and potentially bring the Audi name back to the sport, though following the emissions scandal towards the end of last year, that seems to have been squashed at least for now.

As it currently stands, however, Red Bull may not be in quite as bad a situation as they feared in 2016.

The Renault power unit showed promise in Australia, allowing Daniel Ricciardo to fight with the Ferrari and Mercedes powered cars around him and take what was an unexpected fourth place.

The team is faster than the newly reformed Renault works team and as a result, is still in a strong position to demand the best from their current supplier, which can't be said for the likes of Williams and Sauber.

That being said, Marko is still not ruling out a change for 2017: "We have options. We won't be without an engine next year.

"We have an option, but we want a competitive engine, one that you can run at the front, that you can win with."

"There are still discussions to equalise power within two percent or bring the so-called independent engine in again.

"Let's see what happens with the regulations and let's see what development the engine we are using, which is a TAG Heuer, is doing this season."

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