Red Bull have reached a very important milestone in their long history of Formula 1, RacingNews365.com has learned. In Milton Keynes on the evening of 3 August, a full engine of their own manufacture was fired up for the first time.
The team have never built their own engine for Formula 1 before, having previously partnered with Cosworth, Ferrari, Renault or Honda. However, after the departure of the latter manufacturer, Red Bull decided to take up the challenge of producing their own power unit as a completely independent constructor.
The decision was made in the second half of 2020 and the Red Bull Powertrains company incorporated the following February. Thereafter things moved quickly: New facilities were built and furnished in Milton Keynes and, in the meantime, top-notch staff were sought for the project.
This search often turned to the Mercedes workforce, located within easy reach of Red Bull’s base, which means that any transferring personnel do not have to relocate.
Red Bull on track
Team Principal Christian Horner has repeatedly stated that developments are fully on track, exclusively telling RacingNews365.com during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend that fire-up of the first engine, designed for use from 2026 onwards, was imminent.
RacingNews365.com has learned that the engine, which has not yet been given an official type name, was a full six cylinder unit rather than a single cylinder test engine: a major milestone for the team given the short time frame.
Red Bull had previously bench-tested a single cylinder concept unit, standard procedure in the development of new engines to enable experimentation without incurring the costs of a full-sized unit. Once a concept proves promising, the focus shifts to an expanded unit.
Asked by RacingNews365.com during the FIA press conference whether the team will race with a RBPT-designed and -manufactured power unit from 2026 for Red Bull regardless of “badging such as Porsche on the engine’, Horner said: “It’s an incredible commitment that Red Bull has made to [F1] by investing in Red Bull Powertrains.
“It’s a key element for us, after Honda’s withdrawal from the sport, to take control of our own destiny and have power unit and chassis all integrated on one site.” That’s a “yes” then…
Potential 2026-onwards partner Porsche is believed to have had input into all senior management and engineering appointments.