F1 has decided on its next regulations (from 2026), both technical, financial and sporting, regarding the power unit.
For this new season, although the changes are not as drastic as in 2014, Red Bull will build its own engine with the facilities of Red Bull Powertrains, perhaps in a joint partnership with Porsche. Audi will come from 2026 too, maybe with Sauber.
However, two pitfalls should be avoided in this new regulation. Two traps seen in 2014. On the one hand, the disparity in performance of the set: in 2014, Mercedes crushed the competition, and the suspense with it. On the other hand, it is necessary to make life easy for new entrants to the Volkswagen group, to avoid a new Honda-type disaster.
For this, the regulations provide for the coup: new manufacturers will receive $ 5 million in 2025 and double in 2023 and 2024, so they can upgrade.
Christian Horner appreciates these efforts, because Red Bull will have a new engine manufacturer in 2026, if it is called Red Bull Powertrains or Porsche. But is it enough? Isn’t the challenge of building a new power unit too big for Milton Keynes?
“The machine is changing, but there are many elements that we can transfer from one regulation to another. »
“But for a newbie, if you’re starting from scratch, it’s a big challenge. »
“Although the FIA will try to have a more prescriptive engine [dans sa conception], there’s always a show to find. Formula 1 engineers have always shown how creative they can be in pursuit of performance. »
“The most important weak points for a newcomer are twofold. The first is that we have to catch up, we have to try to catch up with almost 10 years of regulations, knowledge and knowledge without us.”
“And within the constraints of the budget available, $10 million [de bonus] because the new is economical, especially in the machine, to catch up with knowledge and knowledge. And especially in the transposition, from one regulation to another, of internal combustion engine technology. »
Given the scale of the project, isn’t Red Bull Powertrains already on schedule for 2026? Horner took the stock.
“The other challenge for someone new to these financial regulations is to build their facilities, because you have to start from scratch. In 55 weeks, we created a factory and we made the our first combustion engine, which was a great success. »
“But there’s still a long, long way to go in terms of manufacturing capacity and so on. And there are deadlines for that, some of which are a little unrealistic. As a newcomer, it’s a great burden.”
“We just want to have a plateau with a fair level of performance – that we don’t want to surpass what the current engine manufacturers have, but we want to get to a point where we can do the same thing.. »
Christian Horner is worried about one point: what will happen if an engine manufacturer (Red Bull Powertrains randomly) completely misses its target in 2026, like Honda in 2015? Is there any compensation to be given to catch up with him?
“Basically, the safety net that’s in the regulations is something that needs to be reviewed over time. If a manufacturer falls short of the mark… what is this charge, this charge is meant to correct it – so that we don’t have a big difference in performance, as we saw with the introduction of the season V6 2014? This is a work in progress. »
So why does Red Bull build a classic combustion engine in its factory? In practice or because this machine will be useful for 2026?
“The machine we have made is based on the knowledge discussed in the technical forums of the power unit. »
“So luckily it’s not completely unrelated to the regulations and it’s important for us to have the first machine designed and built by Red Bull. It’s a historic moment for the company to see this machine come to life in the summer holidays are not yet. »
“But now the explanation of regulations, turbo capacity, compression ratios, piston specs, etc. »