Christian Horner Red Bull Honda

Arnab Bose

Christian Horner Regrets Turning To Ford After Investing A Billion Dollars In Team’s Future

Christian Horner started looking elsewhere for an engine partner in 2021 after Honda announced it would quit F1. Hence, Red Bull partnered with Ford and invested a billion dollars to build their own powertrains. But Red Bull had a very successful run with Honda since they ended a difficult stint with McLaren. Honda is having a great run with Christian Horner and his team. At first, Honda joined Red Bull to help their sister team, Toro Rosso, with engines in 2018. Later in 2019, Red Bull Racing became a customer of Honda as well.

It was Honda that helped Red Bull end Mercedes’ dominance back in 2021. Albeit Mercedes won the constructor title in 2021, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the driver’s world championship. But then, the Japanese manufacturers decided to leave F1 permanently to devote their work to their own country. The idea was to become carbon neutral by 2050. It came as a shock, but Christian Horner had to look for other potential engine partners. They found Ford, with whom Red Bull has a long history.

   

Christian Horner Regrets Failing To Extend Partnership With Honda From 2026

Christian Horner Red Bull Honda
2019 Brazilian GP SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 17: Toyoharu Tanabe, F1 Technical Director, Honda, Masashi Yamamoto, General Manager, Honda Motorsport, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, and Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing, on November 17, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images Images ONY8944.

The American manufacturers decide to return to Formula One after two decades. If Ford had not left some twenty years ago, then F1 would not have the current dominant powerhouse, Red Bull. However, if partnering with American manufacturers for the engines was not enough, Red Bull invested a billion dollars in starting their powertrains. They are working extensively on building the powertrain. But the reason why they started doing it in the first place does not make sense anymore. Moreover, Business F1 suggests after Honda decided to quit in 2021, the Japanese Manufacturers quickly changed their minds. Honda realized it would be a blunder to leave F1 at that point. They still manufacture and assemble engines for Red Bull Racing and Alpha Tauri (Previously Known as Toro Rosso).

Honda will continue to do so till 2025. But later, Honda will supply engines to Aston Martin from 2026. On the other hand, Ford and Red Bull will be partners from 2026 to 2030. But Christian Horner suggested during a press conference early in 2023 that if they knew Honda would stay, then Red Bull would not invest so much money to build their powertrains. According to Business F1, the parent company, Red Bull GmbH, invested a billion dollars in the engine division. However, with Ford’s partnership, that division is not looking very appealing anymore. From 2026, Honda will help Aston Martin to be the new champions. However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner is wary about the 2026 engine regulations.

Why Red Bull Is Not Onboard With The Engine 2026 Regulations?

Christian Horner Max Verstappen Red Bull
Christian Horner Max Verstappen Red Bull Source: Formula1News.co.uk

Max Verstappen mentioned that his future with Red Bull will depend on the 2026 engine plans. But he drove a car with 2026 engines and remarked, “It was terrible.” Christian Horner suggests that the focus should be on the ratio between combustion power and electrical power. Both Verstappen and Horner have problems with the combustion power. According to Christian Horner, it is essential to ensure that the combustion engine should not only become a generator to recharge the battery.

In reply, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff mentioned that Christian Horner is wary because perhaps Red Bull’s engine program is not going according to plans. That’s why they want to kill the rules. Moreover, Toto Wolff has a lot of faith in the engine rules of 2026. The Mercedes boss says these rules attracted Audi to join the sport and Honda to stay.