Red Bull’s Christian Horner has revealed that Ferrari were the “most willing” to supply his team with engines out of the three manufacturers besides Honda.
Red Bull found themselves in a tough spot following the news that their engine supplier, Honda, would be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of the 2021 season.
Red Bull was therefore without a confirmed supplier to power their cars for next year, leading to negotiations with the other three suppliers on the grid; Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari.
“The most natural thing was to have a discussion with the existing suppliers,” Horner said on the F1 Nation podcast. “Mercedes was a very short conversation and Toto [Wolff] obviously wasn’t particularly keen on that one.”
Red Bull has had a tumultuous partnership with Renault, having had a 12-year relationship from 2007 through 2018, during which period they were a title-winning force in the V8 era, but had issues during the V6 phase.
“Renault – their aspirations as a team didn’t include supplying a team like Red Bull, and probably the most willing was Ferrari,” he said.
“And, you know, we had some exploratory discussions, but to be a customer, so to have to accept all the integration particularly with the new regulations coming would be a massively hard pill to swallow.
“So that’s when we started to explore the possibility: OK, how do we take on this challenge in a Red Bull manner and see if we can put a deal together with Honda in the foreseeable future?”
Red Bull’s Honda partnership has seen the team flourish since 2019 when it returned to winning ways, taking three victories. This year the team currently leads the championship standings with five wins to Mercedes’ three.
Seeing that progress led to Red Bull approaching Honda to do a deal, which will see it take over the intellectual property (IP) of the Honda power unit design, allowing Red Bull to continue running it after Honda has left and providing a base to design a new engine to meet the 2025 regulations under its own engine department – Red Bull Powertrains.
“It’s a big step, it’s a bold step, to take control of our own destiny as an engine supplier and bring the whole lot under one roof in Milton Keynes. It would make us the only team other than Ferrari to have the whole lot within one facility,” added Horner.
Asked how he sold it to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, Horner said there was no need as he too had reached the same conclusion.
“In terms of a sell, I think he reached that conclusion himself – that we had no choice – and Helmut [Marko] was obviously very supportive and pushing hard for it. It was absolutely the right call…”