Mercedes are one of four engine manufacturers in Formula 1 at the moment, with them providing power units to the works team as well as Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams.
Ferrari provide power units to themselves, Alfa Romeo and Haas, whilst Renault look after Alpine and Red Bull Powertrains are the providers for Red Bull and AlphaTauri, though Honda have significant involvement in that.
RBPT for short, the plan from 2026 is for Red Bull to make their engines completely independently and produce them in-house, whereas in the past they have relied on power from the likes of Honda and Renault.
Indeed, Honda are still involved in the RBPT project and will be to the end of 2025 at least, providing technical and trackside support, though it remains to be seen if that relationship will continue any further once the new power unit regulations come into force from 2026.
Red Bull had been looking at a potential collaboration with Porsche around the new regs but talks collapsed, with it believed that Porsche wanted more of Red Bull as a motorsport company than the team was willing to give up.
It remains to be seen what happens next with the Red Bull plan, then, but you’d not bet against them getting it bang on the money, given the success they have had so far in F1.
Wolff is intrigued to see how they do as well, as they look to become totally self-reliant:
“I think it’s a very bold strategy.
“Being self-sufficient is clearly a scenario that Red Bull have always wanted to achieve, by having their own power unit and not being dependent on any other OEM.
“And here we go. That’s the strategy they have deployed. And we shall see what happens in 2026, 27, 28…”
Red Bull’s future plans
Red Bull have grown into one of the most successful teams we’ve seen in Formula 1, having come a long way from taking over the flailing Jaguar team at the end of 2004.
Making their engines in-house is seen as a logical next step to cement their place at the top, with them then not needing to rely on the quality of power unit provided by an external company.
Honda have done a great job for them in recent seasons, to be fair, but that isn’t always the case with engine manufacturers and so going totally independent removes that variable – though obviously you then need to make sure the quality of your own power units is up to scratch!