Racing lines: Christian Horner on Red Bull’s 2022 F1 battle plan Car News

“The past 12 months have been a massive one in building the facility and recruiting top talent,” he says. Many of the newcomers, including technical director Ben Hodgkinson, were poached directly from rival Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, just across the M1.

Buying into a Mercedes or Renault powertrain has never been an option for Red Bull: far too many bridges burned.

“[Finalising] regulation was essential and the homologation freeze was fundamental,” says Horner, “and Honda gave us a soft landing. We do have a Honda product that operates under license.

“They had a positive winter, as if they were still in the sport. The only difference is that we have been charged for it now. Obviously it’s a significant cost, but luckily we had such a competitive year in 2021 that we brought in a title sponsor. [software company Oracle], which is probably one of the biggest deals ever in F1. Then other supplemental deals brought in a significant amount of revenue, which went directly to engine costs.

Now all the attention turns to the 2026 powertrain.

New power station

It’s a strange contradiction that, while F1 teams are tied to a strict annual cost cap, which is $140m (£106.4m) for this second year of caps, Red Bull is investing exorbitant sums in its new engine department. For Horner, it’s a daunting yet exciting time.

“We currently have around 250 people employed at Red Bull Powertrains,” he says. “We expect to have a workforce of between 350 and 400 by the end of this year and we are on schedule to have our first [2026] engine running before the end of the year, too.

So what else will Red Bull Powertrains be working on? “Nothing. It’s pure F1. We could accommodate a track car, but it’s the first facility like this since Mercedes HPP, bespoke set up to make F1 engines. That’s the next chapter for the team and the company.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-17 00:01:24

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