Red Bull: In-house engine program won’t cost ‘significantly more’
February 12, 2021
Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko says that bringing Honda’s engine program in-house at Milton Keynes will not cost “significantly more” than a normal customer deal.
Thursday’s virtual meeting of the F1 Commission saw teams unanimously agree to put a freeze on engine development from 2022 until the end of 2024.
The decision was a prerequisite for Red Bull to take over Honda’s engine program as it could not afford the investments linked to a costly development war between F1’s power unit suppliers.
“It’s good news not only for us, but for the whole of Formula 1 in general,” Marko said in an interview with Germany’s Motorsport-Magazin.com. “It reduces costs considerably.”
The agreement is now a green light for Red Bull to put its 2022 engine program on its rails, with its new power unit department housed in an existing building located on the premises of its factory at Milton Keynes.
“As of today, the course has been set for a new company to be established in Milton Keynes,” added the Austrian. “This will be Red Bull Powertrains.
“Building eight, one of our existing buildings, is being adapted into an engine shop. Now everything is happening, now it’s starting.”
Red Bull will rely on Austrian powertrain systems specialist AVL, one of its partners on previous projects, to supply part of the necessary hardware infrastructure and instrumentation, such as testbeds.
Marko said that dedicating a building to Red Bull’s engine efforts was the preferred option rather than taking over Honda’s nearby unit as the latter houses only the hybrid component of its power unit program. The engineering for the Japanese manufacturer’s internal combustion engine is located at its base in Sakura, Japan.
Read also: Formula 1 teams approve engine freeze from 2022!
While Red Bull could not afford to develop the engines over the three-year period that will start in 2022, the overall cost of bringing the program in-house is on a par with anormal power unit customer deal according to Marko.
“We’re crazy, but we do a little math and calculations,” he explained. “It is a one-time investment in the building and, above all, in test benches.
“But the running costs will not be so much higher than if we had bought an engine somewhere. It costs more, but not significantly more.”
And a rebranding sponsorship deal – perhaps similar to the past rebadging of its Renault engine as Tag-Heuer – would allow Red Bull to recoup part of its investment.
But for Red Bull, the main benefit of its in-house engine program will be a better integration and optimization of its power unit and chassis efforts.
“Now we are building an engine that is coordinated with the chassis people,” Marko insisted.
“The optimum will come from both sides. If we had recieved an engine from Renault, for example, we would have been forced to design our chassis, radiator and other elements around that engine’s architecture.
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